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The Hollow Land

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  280 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
The barren, beautiful Cumbrian fells provide the bewitching setting for the adventures of Bell and Harry, two children who find enchanting wonder at every turn, as they explore THE HOLLOW LAND. Everyday challenges give a daring edge to this rural work and play. There are ancient mysteries to explore and uncover, like the case of the Egg Witch, and everyone is curious about ...more
Published August 6th 2001 by Walker Books Ltd (first published 1981)
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Diane Barnes
Jul 05, 2016 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every word.

If you love English novels, you'll love this.

If you love Jane Gardam, you'll love this. If you've never read her, this is a great place to start. Europa Books is re-issueing her books, and the cover art is fabulous, as it is on all their novels.

One little nitpick, not with the book or author, but with it's classification as a children's book. Either British children are miles ahead of American children in their reading, or their understanding of adult themes is much more matu
Mar 15, 2015 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Masterful. So masterful and at the same time tightly succinct. These chapters are short stories within themselves, but all related to a place in Yorkshire's fells and the group of families that live there. This is alive with such power of exuberance amidst exact characterization and tone, that I would give it the 6th star. I doubted that I would ever like any Jane Gardam work as much as I liked Old Filth, but this 1981 does it.

This was written to approach a child audience of just preteen. Why d
Apr 11, 2015 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this short novel set in former mining country (hollowed out with old mines) of North Yorkshire. Folksy and gently humorous, it focuses on two boys, one a local farmer's son and one a London boy, son of a journalist, who visits for the summers. The locals are colorful and well-meaning and the boys' adventures are sometimes dangerous but always turn out ok. They grow up and live their lives in this plain place that Gardam has made magical.
Jan 30, 2015 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magical book about friendship and love of the countryside and country life (in this case, in Cumbria, UK). I just finished and would be happy to start reading it again right now.
Jane Gardam is good, but either I read this too fast or the book is just differently paced enough from her other work that I wasn't as in love with it as her other novels. Still, Gardam does a good job writing a novel.
Jan 07, 2015 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(FROM MY BLOG) Eight-year-old Bell Teesdale watches with wonder when a family of Londoners -- "talking South" -- arrive to rent his parents' farm house. "There's not owt for 'em here. What's use of a farm to them? Just for sitting in. Never a thing going on."

The visitors get off to a rocky start with their summer landlords -- the oldervisitors do, that is, but not their 5 or 6-year-old son Harry. When the Batemans are about to cancel their vacation because they find the sounds ofhaying too nois
Jane Gardam is a doyenne of British literature, better known there than in the U.S. Her writing career is now over—she’s in her late eighties—but what a grand career it’s been. Arguably among the best contributions in 20th century English literature is her trilogy Old Filth (Filth means “Failed in London, tried Hong Kong”); it’s a masterpiece on relationships among a group of Brits—and on British culture—during and after WWII. Gardam’s ability to put you into the thoughts and feelings of her cha ...more
This is a series of related stories that take place in an isolated area of Westmorland which is, I believe, to the west of Yorkshire. Having been to the dales and fells of Yorkshire, I think that Ms. Gardam well describes the lay of the land. But, in reality, her Westmorland is enchanted. It is glorious with color and flowers and falls of icicles. And the people are enchanted. They seem living in a different time in different ways. They are aware of the different people who have come across thei ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy can Jane Gardam write! I LOVE her writing. These gentle stories are so beautifully written, although I have to admit I couldn't always follow the dialect spoken by her colorful cast of characters. From the two young boys (Bell and Harry) to brother James, Mrs. Teesdale (who still washes her lino floor), Old Granddad, the gypsies (that's what they're called; sorry), The Household Name (what a wonderful sense of humor Ms. Gardam has to give her a name that indicates she is so well known she do ...more
lucy by the sea
Apr 02, 2013 lucy by the sea rated it it was amazing
This book is the sweetest thing. It is a collection of short tales that follow the lives of two men Bell and Harry and their beautiful, uncomplicated friendship. Set in Cumbria, the hollow land refers to mined land and the two farms that sit upon it, Bell's working family farm and Harry's family's holiday house, Light Trees. I loved each of these stories and couldn't pick a favorite although I particularly like the ones that mention gypsies and the ones that feature the families coming together. ...more
Elan Durham
Apr 24, 2015 Elan Durham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't say just how much I admire Jane Gardam's prose and oeuvre. This collection details a summer spent in the Lake District by a large rambling family, the Batesmans, from London. Its narrative form is nearly mythic the way it describes the countryside and experiences of its characters in the language of Cumbrians. The chapter titles ('The Egg-Witch' for instance) give you an idea of how she approaches the people of Britain: as carriers of mythic traditions communicated through shared language, ...more
Robin Kirk
Feb 04, 2015 Robin Kirk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
If you haven't yet become a Gardam acolyte -- let me induct you. Gardam is a writing genius at the level of Hillary Mantel or Norman Maclean. Utterly unflinching, always surprising, a voice you know within the first two lines. This is a delightful set of linked stories, with two boys -- farmer Bell and cityboy Harry -- at the center. The characters around them -- the Egg-witch, Kendal the chimney sweep -- are so well drawn. Just spectacular
Jan 27, 2015 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Wonder"- filled! I loved this book and am so glad I recently discovered Gardam's writing. Loved Old Filth but this book is even better. I only buy books that I feel are worth re-reading or lending. I didn't hesitate to get this and I have a feeling I will be buying more by this author.
Cynthia Dunn
So charming. I wish it had gone on and on.
Nov 05, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading this book for the first time in ten or fifteen years, I was struck by how much the feelings it conjured up were coloured even more this time round by my own love of wild northern landscapes. Originally published as a children's book, but immensely satisfying to read as an adult, The Hollow Land is the story of two families: the Teesdales/Hewitsons and the Batemans. The former are hill farmers in the north Pennines, hefted to the landscape like their sheep, the latter summer visitors f ...more
This can be enjoyed equally by older children and adults. There's a real sense of place. The opening chapter has an outstanding description of natural beauty. There's gentle humour throughout that makes you smile rather than laugh. It was a little rose-tinted and sentimental for my taste and lacked bite.
Catherine  Mustread
With seven books by Jane Gardam on my TBR list, I managed to select one noton my list to check out at the library recently. As a fan of Gardam after really enjoying her Old Filth series, I am slowly working on adding her to my "completist" file.

The Hollow Land is about two families, the Teesdales are long time rural folk and the Batemans are London residents who rent an old farm house from the Teesdales as a summer residence. Though the first year is rocky, the families become ever closer over
The Hollow Land appears under the heading "For Children" on the list of Jane Gardam's work at the start of the book, but these nine linked stories read perfectly well as grown-up literature, too. The stories are mostly centered around a pair of children (Bell Teesdale, who's eight when the book opens, and who narrates the first story, and Harry Bateman, who's a few years younger), and the stories are partly about childhood experiences, but they're also about landscape/place/culture: the Cumbrian ...more
This was among the books chosen for the last session of the Guys Read group I facilitated at my local library. You can read more about this here at my blog, Reading Rainstorm. While I quite enjoyed The Hollow Land, this is one I probably would not choose for another group, or at least not younger than the teen group. Not that it was inappropriate for younger groups, it was just a bit too wistful and languid to keep the younger kids' attentions, and relied heavily on this specific, detailed setti ...more
Michael Meeuwis
I think I would probably have enjoyed this gently-paced, provincial, vaguely larger-world-hating novel better if I had Alzheimer's--which is to say, if I wanted gentle stories of children doing things in the countryside surrounded by wise-but-set-in-the-ways provincials. Some clever business: a vaguely dystopic, vaguely sci-fi element crept in, I think, unless I was misreading details of oil disappearing. But I couldn't help but shake the sense that this book was kind of happy the modern world, ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
*3.5 stars
“I gets out of my clothes and I rolls into my bed and it’s grand and soft. I wriggle about in the shape of me in the middle of the springs…” (16).
“‘’s not a place for jollifications’” (33)
“It was a day when great curtains of rain swept the fells and away and away stretched dismal wet hills. Every one of the London folk was still in bed with books and breakfast and the radio at nine o’clock. The little lad, Harry, was in bed with a Lego set and a gang of invisible friends” (37).
Published in Britain in 1981, this collection of short stories is considered a children’s book, which only demonstrates Gardam’s respect for children’s intellect. Filled with exacting lanquage and perceptive observations, the stories are told mostly through two boys, Bell Teesdale, the son of a farmer, and the other, Harry Bateman, the son of a London writer. The Batemans rent Bell’s grandfather’s farmhouse every summer from the time Bell is eight years old and Harry, a few years younger. The st ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The lilt of the Pennine Fells dialect, the charm of the characters, the sense of history passing through an ancient land, the attraction of a rural life--all these make the reading a real pleasure. Here is a brief sample of the description of 'the icicle ride': "And there, round a corner to the left where the beck fell sheer, stood high as the sky a chandelier of icicles. Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of them down the shale steps of a waterfall. There were long ones and short ones and mid
Aug 20, 2014 Rita rated it really liked it
Collection of stories about the same characters, set in remote, high part of Yorkshire Moors, or thereabouts.

SPlendid stories, character-wise [both kids and adults and local eccentrics convincingly portrayed], landscape and lifestyle-wise, passing-on-legends wise, plot-wise.

Main 'youths' seem to be around 11 years old, perhaps the age group she was aiming at.

Gardam wrote kids books before writing novels for adults. Am wondering whether this was good training for the succinct style she write
May 19, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful novel about the friendship of two boys in the English countryside. One is the son of a farmer and the other is the son of a London resident who rents a home over the holidays. The book is a series of interrelated short stories, where the boys age a little bit from one chapter to the next. They occasionally get themselves into real trouble as they become more independent. Maybe this is a children's book? (As a mother of a young boy, a lot of their behavior resonated with me.)

But the bo
Helen Baldwin
Dec 22, 2015 Helen Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am already a fan of Jane Gardam's, she's one of my favorite writers, so reading The Hollow Land confirmed the fact. This book is a bunch of linked stories about two boys growing up in Britain's Cumbrian countryside. One of the boys is a full-time resident and from a farming family, the other's family rents a house and is from London. The two families represent two cultures and misunderstandings do occur, but turn out to be wonderful, humorous experiences. The hills and the dales and overall be ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a gem of stories, all tied together by a a community of characters in a country town situated atop the Hollow Land (so called because of the abandoned mines snaking below the landscape). It is here that the Bateman family comes to escape life in the city of London when they take up renting a farmhouse owned by the local Teesdale family. The younger boys of the families, Harry and Bell, become friends and it is the stories of their adventures over many years, highlighted by the landscape as ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a wonderful story. The language and the events are so steeped in northern English landscape, farm life and language. It's listed as a book for children. Not at all. It's a book that has children as main characters. Each chapter is a small story that reveals the people and lives of this northern English country side.

There's one about the two main characters getting trapped in an old mine that I know my fifth graders would love. Maybe I'll have time to read it to them. Gardam is an incredibl
Jul 11, 2015 Wyatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gardam has a real knack for descriptions of rural landscape. My favorite stories are "The Hollow Land" and "The Icicle Ride" though the stories are all linked and work best read in order.

It's not obvious from the cover but this is classified in the list of Gardam's works as a children's book. About halfway through the book I was enjoying it so much that I began reading it from the beginning with my 9-year-old daughter. It's a wonderful book to read aloud.

This is not a conservative or nostalgic
Indah W
Nov 25, 2010 Indah W rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
I gotta say I was kinda sloooooow in reading this book, haha, but somehow I just couldn't put it down and left it to read another book.

So even though it was really slowly to read this one but I managed to read it to the end.

The things that I like about this book.. well it's because its setting is in some peaceful and quiet place, in a place where there seems like there's not much excitements going on but still.. you can have lots of things to venture about.

This book reminds me that at times we d
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Jane Mary Gardam OBE is a British author of children's and adult fiction. She also reviews for the Spectator and the Telegraph, and writes for BBC radio. She lives in Kent, Wimbledon and Yorkshire. She has won numerous literary awards including the Whitbread Award, twice. She is mother of Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford. Jane has been awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize for ...more
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