Nikki's Reviews > The Owl Service

The Owl Service by Alan Garner
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
223837
's review
Feb 17, 11

bookshelves: children-s-and-ya, for-class, favourites, based-on-myth-saga-etc
Read on February 17, 2011

The Owl Service is a very, very powerful book. It used to scare me silly, when I was younger -- under ten, probably -- and it still has a very tense feel to it, an edge of fright. It draws on the story of Blodeuwedd, from the Mabinogion: Gwydion makes her out of flowers, to be a wife for Lleu Llaw Gyffes, who has been cursed by his mother never to marry a mortal woman. However, she falls in love with Gronw Pebr, and they plot how to kill Lleu. He is only changed into an eagle, though, and he comes back and eventually kills Gronw, and Blodeuwedd is turned into an owl in punishment.

The central idea of The Owl Service is this story replaying over and over again in a Welsh valley -- that the story has so much power that it can't help but keep replaying itself like a traumatic memory. And in the book it's mapped onto a fraught story of conflicting loyalties, class difference, the problems between the Welsh and the English... the power of it comes from how much of it is real. I can believe in the anger here, in the characters' feelings.

Alan Garner did, as far as I can gather, an amazing amount of research for this book. I think he succeeds in putting his finger on Welsh feelings and retelling the myth in a respectful and even renewing way.
8 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Owl Service.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Robert This book is just amazing! I didn't understand a word of it the first time I read it...

The story of Blodauwedd has the highest density of superb character names of any myth/legend I've ever read.


Gill Ha! You got to it before me! I hadn't remembered reading your review, and probably avoided doing so until I had finished it myself!


Charlie Trafford All hail Nikki's review! The Welsh/English feud is at the core of the book without doubt, The atmosphere I feel when reading this book is difficult to describe, just simply an astonishing book
.


Charlie Trafford All hail Nikki's review! The Welsh/English feud is at the core of the book without doubt, The atmosphere I feel when reading this book is difficult to describe, just simply an astonishing book
.


back to top