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The Earth Hums in B Flat

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,784 Ratings  ·  309 Reviews
Young Gwenni Morgan has a gift. She can fly in her sleep. She’s also fond of strawberry whip, detective stories and asking difficult questions. When a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, she resolves to uncover the secret of his disappearance and return him to his children. She truthfully records what she sees and hears: but are her deductions correct? What is the real truth? ...more
Kindle Edition, 346 pages
Published (first published March 19th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jo
“Whales, porpoises, mermaids and mermen, dead sailors, fishes, crabs, tiny shrimps; the sea is forever full of eyes that watch me. I never fly far beyond the shore. If my town were a map the bay would have Here be Monsters written on it in golden ink.”

It always feels a cop out when I write a review about a book such as ‘The Earth Hums in B- Flat’ because I’m going to go on and on about how much I enjoyed it and you’ll read with wide-eyes shining, practically quivering with excitement because
...more
Carrie Hope Fletcher
‘Gwenni Morgan is not like any other girl in her small Welsh town. Inquisitive, bookish and fill of spirit, she can fly in her sleep and loves playing detective. So when a neighbour mysteriously vanished and no one seems to be asking the right questions, Gwenni decided to conduct her own investigation.’
It was only by chance that I stumbled across this book and decided to buy it. I was supposed to be working and when i got there i got a call saying they’d moved the time we were meeting to and hou
...more
Emily
Mar 06, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Really quite good, but somewhat painful reading. It reminds me in some ways of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in that it's about an ultra-naive child who decides to turn detective and is oblivious to the consternation she leaves in her wake as she goes about her investigations. A case could be made for an Asperger's diagnosis for Gwenni (besides her inability to comprehend other people's reactions, there's her extreme sensitivity to tastes and smells -- one has to read rather ...more
Katy Noyes
Nov 26, 2014 Katy Noyes rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - a murder mystery with a protagonist whose world view differs from that of the reader.

Gwenni is 13. She's smart but also naive and very imaginative, believing she can fly. Her mother, clearly with her own issues, worried that people will think her daughter mad. When looking after a teacher's young children, she becomes involved in their family tragedy, and vows to solve the mystery for them.

As Gwenni digs (to her mother's
...more
Felice
Jul 09, 2010 Felice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm suspicious of adult novels told in the first person from a child's point of view. The child is never really a child. It's always a quirky little prophet machine. It's innocence a mask in place to reveal the hypocrisy of adults. This doesn't mean that there haven't been novels like this that I have enjoyed. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Sweetnees at the Bottom of the Pie come to mind.

Another book to add to this list is The Earth Hums In B Flat by Mari Stranchan. G
...more
Karen
Jan 03, 2010 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefanie
Aug 28, 2014 Stefanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I thought this was an interesting book. I picked it up in a charity shop because I liked the title and cover and thought it sounded interesting.

For me it fell a little short. We never learn the full story about Mam and Ifan Evans and why she still seemed to love him 14 or so years later even though he was abusive to his wife and possibly his children (they never did say what really happened to the twins).

I just felt the story was all a little too vague, with some things Gwenni investigated too m
...more
Patrick Neylan
Sep 18, 2011 Patrick Neylan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It's set in Wales. Don't forget that. Well, you can't. In fact, the author spends most of the first 100 pages painting an initially charming but eventually tiresome picture of an authentic North Welsh town in the Catherine Cookson-style long-ago-when-life-was-harder-but-the-world-was-better picture-postcard past. For instance, things are never white, they're "as white as the winter snow on Llapgoch" - just in case at any point you forget that IT'S SET IN WALES.

When the story finally gets going,
...more
Mark
Sep 02, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub-reads
This book was a fascinating approach to childhood, eccentricity and the dangerous knock on effect of ill kept secrets. The narrator, a young girl called Gwenni, is attempting to pick her way through the ups and downs of that strange unknown hinterland of childhood moving into adolescence. Falling in and out of friendship, discovering boys but not particularly liking the discovery and over arching it all is her bizarre imagination and a whole host of phobias and worries.

Her family life is, to sa
...more
Rhi
superb, absolutely superb.
i didn't want it to end, and dragged out reading it because of that.

welsh literature is my most favorite of genres, and this did not disappoint. full of all the good stuff, madness, murder, family, welsh tradition, and one superb little female protagonist. what is it that makes me love welsh literature so much? perhaps the nostalgia of tea time at my mam and da's, with a spread of bread and butter and cakes gallore. perhaps the phrases that really are still used today a
...more
Nicola
This book definitely gets full marks for originality. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it before. Both the writing style and plot were interesting and unique. I liked the setting a lot and also enjoyed all the interesting Welsh names. Gwenni was a likable enough character and she had an intriguing way of looking at things. The story moved a little too slowly for my liking though and I predicted the main plot twist from the start which was annoying. Most of the characters were pre ...more
Liz
WARNING: SPOILERS. ALSO, THIS BOOK CONTAINS SOME GRAPHIC CONTENT ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUICIDE THAT COULD BE TRIGGERS FOR SOME READERS.

This book makes use of a classic literary technique: we are presented with an innocent's version of events and we, the (older) readers, infer from it something far darker. Sometimes this is used to great comic effect, but here evokes pity and sadness.

The blurb on the copy I picked up suggested a mystery novel, so it was a great surprise to me that the mystery
...more
Robyn
Jul 01, 2014 Robyn rated it it was ok
Didn't enjoy this at all, I feel tricked somehow by the synopsis! Really boring and a very weak storyline. Most of the book was spent describing old fashioned ways of living.
Vicki
Oct 14, 2015 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit, it was the beautiful cover that first drew me to this book. The blurb sounded unusual so I was excited to give it a go. This book was not at all like I was expecting, but then maybe that was the author's intention. The plot is as much an exploration of mental illness as a a detective story - I won't say any more so as not to spoil it. It's clear to the reader from the start exactly what's happened to Ifan Evans, Gwenni's neighbour, so the 'detective' side of things is simply Gwenni f ...more
Philippa
4-4.5*

The story itself is told from the perspective of 12 year old Gwenni, growing up in the 1950s in Wales. Gwenni is a kind and thoughtful girl, with a very active imagination, firmly believing that in her sleep she flies and hears the sound of the earth's hum. One day, when a member of the community goes missing she is determined to work out what has happened as she watches the people she love feel the shock waves of it. Gwenni's quest for answers will reveal some buried truths about the peo
...more
Trudi
This book starts out slow with not a whole lot happening. It’s definitely one of those reads that sneaks up on you in an amazing way, and you are so grateful to have stuck with it by the time you reach the end. Strachan uses a lot of Welsh idioms and dialect which takes a bit of getting used to. The first half is on the lighter fluffier side as the characters that populate Gwenni’s young life and a small 1950s Welsh town are introduced.

Told in the first-person, Gwenni is a precocious and imagina
...more
Emilie
Dec 18, 2011 Emilie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minulla oli täysin toisenlainen käsitys tästä kirjasta. Kansikuva ei puhutellut minua, eikä takakansikaan niin suuresti innostanut. Silti tartuin kirjaan ja hupsista, tämähän oli TOSI HYVÄ!

Gwenni

Gwenni on kirjan kertojaääni. Erilainen ja ihanan mielikuvituksen omaava nuori tyttönen johdatti lukijan aluksi taivaalle nauttimaan fantastisesta lennosta sekä kauniista maailmankatselmuksesta ja pian taas takaisin todellisuuteen, mikä ei aina ollut kovin ruusuista. Gwenni ei ollut äidilleen kovin halut
...more
Kelly
Jun 11, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface The earth hums is about the humdrum life in a small 1950's Welsh town as seen through our protagonist Gwenni Morgan. Gwenni is a somewhat lonely young girl who is a voracious reader of novels including detective tales. She also has a vivid imagination believing that she can fly at night and that toby jugs and the distemper in her house are watching her family. In spite of her imagination everything is black and white for Gwenni and she takes things very literally. When the husband ...more
Grace
Aug 31, 2012 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Earth Hums In B Flat' center's around oddball twelve-year-old Gwennie as she tries to solve the mystery of her neighbors disappearance and discover her family history. Strachan creates a brilliant picture of a small Welsh community where everyone knows everyone's secrets but nobody ever speaks of them. Her character's are wonderfully described, I especially enjoyed the police Sargent who seemed to make everything groan under his weight. Gwennie's mother is suffering from some sort of bi-pol ...more
Nikki
(Final book for the readathon. Seventh book/eighth text. Finished the last third after the readathon ended.)

I don't know what I expected from this book. It's somewhat marketed as a mystery, I suppose, but that's a little misleading. The central character, Gwenni, isn't a precocious little child detective, a mini Sherlock Holmes. She's a slightly odd child, with a lot of imagination and a funny way of putting things, and about the complications in her life that begin with the disappearance of one
...more
Barbara
This is a gorgeously written book set in a post-WWII (late 1950s) Welsh village. Gwenni is thirteen, and, along with her village, is on the cusp of dramatic changes. I loved the development of Gwenni’s character. She sees things differently from most, believing that she flies at night and can hear the rhythms of the earth turning. Her sense of smell is acute, she sees faces in the wall plaster and pain in the glass eyes of a dead fox stole. So innocent, imaginative, likable. The reader understan ...more
Susan Roebuck
May 09, 2014 Susan Roebuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another favourite read for 2014.
One of the secrets of a great book, in my opinion, is the "voice". In this case it's the voice of a 12, getting on for 13-year-old girl. Yet, this is no children or young adult book, it's firmly in the adult field as the plot unfolds through the innocent eyes of Gwenni - a loveable and gifted girl who observes her Welsh village life, its poverty and hardships as perfectly normal. Somehow the narrator reminded me of a young Dylan Thomas with simple yet beautiful pr
...more
Louise
Mar 13, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alma Q
3,5 stars

A beautifully, if melancholicly written novel about 12 years old Gwenni, a girl who should learn to balance her vivid imagination, live with her unstable mother, and grow up all the same time.

While I found Gwenni to be a bit unconvincing character in much the same way Bruno from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is "a bit unconvincing" in his ignorance and innocence, I still loved Gwenni's story. All the other characters were painfully spot on described, the atmostphere was wonderfully ach
...more
Karen
Aug 08, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main character, Gwenni, is a young girl living in Wales in the 1950's. Gwenni wants to be a detective when she grows up and gets herself in trouble often by asking too many questions. She can't help it. She has a curious mind. She 'has' to know about things. Oh, and Gwenni can fly . . .

This is a beautifully written book. The Welsh names took a bit of getting used to at first, but I found myself giving the characters names I could pronounce :) A touching story, but not overly sentimental, wit
...more
Pauline
I enjoyed parts of it but was quite depressing in other parts. Average read for me.
Ben
Apr 05, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-novels
The Earth Hums in B Flat
Mari Strachan (Author)

Mari Strachan’s debut novel The Earth Hums in B flat looks at life in a small post war Welsh town, from the viewpoint of Gwenni Morgan, a 12 year old, with a vivid imagination, and a fractured family life. She can fly in her sleep, and loves detective stories. She is close to father, and her Grandmother, but her sister and mother are far more distant. A neighbour has mysteriously disappeared, and when his body is found, she launches her own investiga
...more
Surymae
Mar 23, 2014 Surymae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
...Menomale che non ci ho speso soldi. Menomale che non ho dato ascolto al mio istinto spendaccione che mi suggeriva di comprare "La musica segreta della terra" perché sembrava bello. Altrimenti avrei avuto un libro ben al di sotto delle aspettative che mi ero fatta. Un libro che é partito piuttosto male, per poi risollevarsi praticamente alla fine. E' partito piuttosto male per diversi motivi; prima di tutto per la voce narrante, Gwenni. Credo che, nel scegliere il punto di vista in prima perso ...more
Nicole
Feb 16, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I stayed up until 2 am reading this book, but I still don't know how I feel about it. I mean, I liked it, and I read it in about two days but some parts made me feel weird. Gwenni reminded me a bit of Flavia de Luce, but not quite. I liked how she gave us all the information but because Gwenni was a child she couldn't quite figure it out, however that made all the twists and turns a bit predictable. All of my guesses were true. But the writing was lovely.
Sian
Oct 09, 2014 Sian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Mari Strachan was born into a Welsh family in Harlech, on the north-west coast of Wales, and was brought up there with Welsh as her first language.

After graduating from Cardiff University she qualified as a chartered librarian, and worked in a variety of libraries, from academic through public and prison to school libraries, with occasional forays into other occupations.

In 2007 she acquired an MA
...more
More about Mari Strachan...

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“Up here, far away from everybody, the night is peaceful: there's no sound except the hum of the Earth. At school, when I sang the note to Mr Hughes Music he said it was B flat but he laughed when I said it was the note the Earth hummed. He said: You'll be hearing the music of the spheres next, Gwenni. But he doesn't know how the Earth's deep, never-ending note clothes me in rainbow colors, fills my head with all the books ever written, and feeds me with the smell of Mrs. Sergeant Jones's famous vanilla biscuits and the strawberry taste of Instant Whip and the cool slipperiness of glowing red jelly. I could stay up here for ever without the need for anything else in the whole world.” 6 likes
“Whales, porpoises, mermaids and mermen, dead sailors, fishes, crabs, tiny shrimps; the sea is forever full of eyes that watch me. I never fly far beyond the shore. If my town were a map the bay would have Here Be Monsters written on it in golden ink.” 1 likes
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