John Tarrow is an English novelist, poet, storyteller and creator of 'Britain's Most Extraordinary Home' [The Times], Talliston House & Gardens. Born in London's East End, he spent his childhood with a Smith-Corona Calypso typewriter and a wild imagination, both of which he still owns.
As creative director at Talliston, John's transformation of the house and gardens showcases his ability to design extraordinary locations in the most ordinary of places. His novel The Stranger's Guide to Talliston weaves together the 13 rooms of the house and gardens into a rich narrative and introduces us to an ordinary boy who discovers the secret to achieving the extraordinary.
His extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies.
Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe's world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers The Stranger's Guide, a cryptic book charting this immense no-man's land and his only map through its dark and dangerous puzzle of doors and rooms.
Hunted by sinister forces, Joe is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What lies at the labyrinth's centre and will it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?
The novel is inspired by and set inside a unique and amazing house and gardens. Talliston was a 25-year project that took the UK's most ordinary house and transformed it, room by room, by ordinary people on an ordinary budget, into Britain's Most Extraordinary Home.
Starting as a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex, today not a single square centimetre of the original house remains. In its place is an extraordinary labyrinth of locations, each set in different times and places.
Talliston is a once ordinary house and gardens in Essex where its thirteen rooms have been transformed into extraordinary locations each set in a different time and place. Magnolia living rooms have been recreated as Welsh watchtowers. Garages as log cabins in the woods. Box-rooms as 1920s investigator offices. A former pink bedroom is now a dark and haunted Scottish chamber. Talliston (a name that means 'the hidden place in the wood') in the medieval market town of Great Dunmow, just minutes from Stansted airport, is another world hiding on a perfectly normal street, inviting you to step inside and discover its secrets.