Pault's Reviews > Boneland

Boneland by Alan Garner
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Sep 23, 12

Read in September, 2012

I found rating this difficult,and the 2 is indicative of how i personally rated Boneland, as opposed to my feeling that as an author, Alan Garner deserves a 5 star rating every time.
I found it confusing, with none of the euphoria i enjoyed whilst reading Wierdstone and The Moon of Gomrath.
Of course, Fundindelve, Cadellin, Angharad Goldenhand... all the vivid and romantic places and characters dont exist...or do they? To me, as a child, they did, and it was only the slow maturing into adulthood that chipped away and diminished my belief that a beautiful and haunting outcrop of rock in Cheshire sheltered a magical band of knights, watched over by a benevolent wizard, surrounded by a multitude of dark forces and ethereal, almost angel-like characters of supreme goodness.
Ive visited Alderley Edge many, many times. I expect that many of the readers of the books have also wandered around the deeply wooded, peaceful and enigmatic place...and how many of you, with a quick glance around to check you were'nt being observed, have placed your hand on slabs of rock and quietly muttered-"Emalagra?".
How many readers have seen, or imagined theyve seen, snatches of silver white movement amongst the upper branches of the trees, that may, or may not be elven cloaks of eagle feathers?
In Boneland, Colin, (whilst never a full and substantiated character, playing his part remarkably well, his bravery in the face of horrifying adversity equal to that of Susan's in a different way),is now someone who seems to be on the verge of madness. By the end of the book, i was not sure at all if Alan Garner was trying to say that all the magical mystery of the first two books was just a manifestation of Colins slide into decaying mental health.
Alan Garner gifted his readers with dreamscape images, millenium old spells, beautiful descriptions of the sounds, for example, that the moon would make on snow.
Boneland i will store in my memory as just a book i have read. Wierdstone and Gomrath will always be the pure undiluted escapism that, as a child, was as real as Santa Claus, and as tantalising as the iron gates behind a rock wall....there, but not there.

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Ruth Bygrave Apparently it's only the magic that's made up, and the only 'place' that's made up is Fundindelve with its magic gates (and the magic island which is floating anyway). All the towns, the landscape bits, Alderley Edge, the mine pits, the Wizard's Well (although the inscription is a Victorian attraction to tourists), the Goldenstone, Lindow (now famous for the man once buried in the peat bog), Shining Tor, St Mary's Clyffe etc are all real places. Garner really knows about Cheshire because he's lived there all his life.

A friend told me this later, but I can believe it.

I gave a high rating to Boneland, but I think if I didn't have the same friend to talk to and explain the bits I didn't get, I'd probably have rated it two as well.

The prose is wonderful, but it's so terse I found it hard to understand in places.

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