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The Owl Service (1967)

de Alan Garner

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MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,688437,544 (3.81)124
During a summer vacation in a secluded Welsh valley, three young people find themselves driven by the spirits of three mythical lovers to reenact an ancient tragedy.
  1. 81
    The Dark Is Rising de Susan Cooper (souloftherose)
  2. 50
    The Mabinogion de Anonymous (Michael.Rimmer)
  3. 21
    A String in the Harp de Nancy Bond (gwernin)
  4. 11
    The Earth Witch de Louise Lawrence (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Both are books based on Welsh mythology, with teenage protagonists caught up by forces from the distant past.
  5. 01
    The Wood Wife de Terri Windling (gwernin)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 43 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
One of my least favourite books from childhood, surpassed mostly by the other Alan Garners.

Our school was Very Keen on Alan Garner. So we had the obvious canon of them forced upon us. Which rarely works. Particularly so for the Owl Service. This is a novel mostly of teenage jealousies. If you're 11, you've not only not read the Mabinogion, you've not yet been jilted by your crush in favour of the posh kid either. So when we were forced to read this, we had neither of the reference points that Garner bridges between, so no wonder we didn't understand it. We probably thought it was about owls, or plates.

Much later, I decided to re-read Alan Garner (CS Lewis too, who came off rather worse for it). These days I live in a village where Merlin is sleeping under a hill nearby and our local cafe has a life-size carving of Blodeuwedd, because why wouldn't you? So I understood Garner's world rather better and this time round I loved it.

It's a "Young Adult" book. But that's not a kid's book.
  Andy_Dingley | Feb 28, 2021 |
One of my favourite books from childhood. There's so much to grasp, so many depths, so much unexplained, so satisfying. One character is there living in the same house as all the others and influencing the action - but we never meet her - how and why did Alan Garner engineer that? I try not to re-read too often and the story keeps fresh for me. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
defiantly needs another read after which I expect it'll become either a 3 or a 5 star.

I am a but of a sucker for Welsh mythology books. more please. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Alison and Roger have come to Wales on a holiday with their parent and respective step-parent. Roger’s father and Alison’s mother have recently married and in a way this is a sort of bonding session. The house is technically Alison’s, she inherited from an uncle. Gwynn is the housekeeper’s son, the same age as Alison and Roger but very much not of the same class.

Have I mentioned that this book was written and set in the 60s? Because they really needs to be in your mind when reading it.

Alison has been hearing strange scratchings from the attic and when Gwynn goes up to investigate he discovers a dinner service, he takes a plate down and almost immediately Alison becomes somewhat obsessed with the pattern. It appears to be flowers, but Alison can also see an owl in the flowers.

Those of you who are familiar with Welsh legends might be thinking, hmmm, flowers. Could this have anything to do with the myth of Blodeuwedd? Well, if you’re thinking that you’re perfectly correct.

Oh I have many thoughts about this book. Many many thoughts.

First off, I’m sure I read this as a child and had absolutely no idea what was going on. I’m pretty sure I also caught bits of the television adaptation, but I don’t remember any of that, apart from a general sense of weirdness. A description that definitely fits the book.

I really enjoyed it1 , it is just so strange. Garner describes it as a ghost story, and it almost feels like you are living through these crazy unexplained events because so much is just described. There are some reasons provided, and we get the myth of Blodeuwedd and that tragedy to underpin it all, but there is so much more than just the supernatural aspect to the book.

Most of the book, as I said, is descriptions of what is happening right now. There is very little internal monologue or expressions of what different characters are feeling. Not that there are none, but they are almost like dialogue that just isn’t spoken aloud. I’m not doing a good job of explaining this, am I.

The setting is very much in the here and now2 yet also about how the present is shaped by the past and the mistakes people make, and seem to make over and over again.

It is full of classism and prejudice. Alison comes from the land-owning classes. Roger’s father is wealthy but a business man. Gwynn is the working class boy, the servant. He is also Welsh and there are numerous snide remarks about that. Of course the reverse is also true, the Welsh resent the English for the very fact that they are English.

It is one I think you have to read to get any grasp of what it’s all about. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
This is a strange and unsettling book. I have no idea why it's marketed as a children's book as I found it confusing enough. Apparently it references the Welsh story from the Mobinogion of a wife made of flowers, so maybe I need to read that to pick up more of the references. As it is there is a spooky and intense atmosphere as a dinner service patterned with owls or flowers is found in the attic. The power of a repeating myth with the modern humans caught up in it. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Dec 6, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 43 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Garner, Alanautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Call, GregArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cooper, SusanPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Farnhill, KennethDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Finn, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Forester, WayneNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Greaves, GriseldaIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hopes, DarrenIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Juva, KerstiTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lavis, StephenArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Marsh, JamesArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pullman, PhilipIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Schwinger, LaurenceArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Springett, MartinArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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-The owls are restless.
People have died here,
Good men for bad reasons,
Better forgotten.-    
R.S. Thomas
I will build my love a tower
By the clear crystal fountain,
And on it I will build
All the flowers of the mountain.

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Possessive parents rarely live long enough to see the fruits of their selfishness.

Radio Times: 15 September 1965
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During a summer vacation in a secluded Welsh valley, three young people find themselves driven by the spirits of three mythical lovers to reenact an ancient tragedy.

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