Mark's Reviews > The Earth Hums in B Flat

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
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's review
Mar 23, 11

bookshelves: bookclub-reads
Read in March, 2011

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 say the least, in mild turmoil with an unbalanced mother, an elder sister who sneers as only someone rising 14 can and a father who, though an admirably loving man (and we discover more of this as it goes along) you can't help but wish would be a tad more outspoken in his younger daughter's defence. However as the story prgresses you begin to see the wider picture in dribs and drabs and as the fuller vision comes into view perhaps his reticence is explained. Add to the mix violent deaths of varying types, the claustrophobic effects of small town life and a magic surrealism which i was not 100% certain whether it was real, in Gwenni's imagination or in my misunderstanding of the text and you have a really interesting book. The story did not tie up all the loose ends and indeed a good number were left floating wildly and although that often leaves me on edge, here it seemed an emminently sensible thing to do. Not a happy book but a subtle thought provoking reminder of how our actions, innocent or cruel, foolish or wise, noble or cowardly may never stop having an effect long after we've ceased to recall them. And that what we intended to bring about by them may result in the opposite release or disaster.
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