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Bell und Harry

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  120 reviews
London ist laut und anstrengend, die Batemans sehnen sich nach Ruhe und haben sich für den Sommer auf dem Land in Yorkshire eingemietet. Vor allem der Vater, ein nervöser Journalist, hofft auf Entspannung in der bäuerlichen Umgebung. Hier trifft sein kleiner Sohn Harry auf Bell, den jüngsten Sohn der Vermieter, und eine tiefe Jungenfreundschaft beginnt. Sommer für Sommer ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 13th 2019 by Hanser (first published 1981)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  454 ratings  ·  120 reviews


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Diane Barnes
Dec 06, 2015 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
...more
Jeanette
Mar 14, 2015 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
...more
Trina
Apr 11, 2015 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.
Cynthia Dunn
So charming. I wish it had gone on and on.
Kirsten
May 01, 2014 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.
Margaret
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.
Don
Jan 07, 2015 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
...more
Spiros
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those not afraid of overwhelmingly charming narratives
Shelves: bins
When I saw Jim Jarmusch's film "Paterson", I felt that I was seeing the last movie before our current, shit-fueled moment of being ruled by a narcissistic, sociopathic, racist imbecile. This book likewise feels like the last book written before Thatcherism. It describes the enduring friendship of two boys, Bell Teesdale and Harry Bateman, who come from entirely different worlds: the fells of Cumbria and middle-class streets of London. All parties are provincial and prejudiced, but they find that ...more
Peter
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 ...more
Lawrence
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 ...more
Alice
Jan 15, 2015 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 ...more
lucy  black
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 18, 2015 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 03, 2015 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
Carole
Jan 25, 2015 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.
Anne Saulin
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and good (mostly light) reading.

The language is direct and neither overly dramatic nor boring. The events described are interesting yet realistic and relatable.

** Spoilers **
Bell and Harry Takes you through the life of two boys. I like how the author does not tell you how many months or years have passed between the different events. Only based on a couple of cues you realize how much time must have passed.

I don't give it 5 stars since I did not like the ending too much. The book just
...more
Michael Brown
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
Reminds me a lot of de Bernieres' Nothwithstanding. A London boy, Harry, comes to the Cumbrian fells with his family for a vacation stay in a rented house. They become so charmed with the locals and their lives, they return year after year. Harry becomes close friends and an ally in adventures with the slightly older Bell, the landlord's grandson. There are tales of ghosts and a witch, and the witch's mother shared throughout. One grows to like these country characters very much and often feels ...more
janetandjohn
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hurrah for Jane Gardam - this is a lovely, gentle book with just a few shocks to lift the reader out of their comfort zone. Each chapter is a singular short story, but read all together, they make up the story of a farming family in the Cumbrian fells and their London based tenants who rent a house from them for holidays. Apparently aimed at younger readers, I can only add "anyone under 99".
David Orenstein
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book, first published in 1981, centered around 2 boys in Cumbria (NW England). Bell is from Cumbria, and Harry is from London, come to this countryside with his family for vacation, and returns year after year. The story focuses on their adventures, the relationships between the Londoners and natives as they grown close over the years. Many colorful characters, pointed with affection. The author is not afraid to laugh at (with, really) some of the quirks of these lovable characters. A ...more
Heather
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
Katherine
Jan 15, 2015 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).
“‘...it’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).
...more
Kathleen
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 ...more
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
...more
Theresa
Dec 05, 2015 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
...more
Rita
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1981.
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
...more
Beth
May 19, 2015 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
...more
Wyatt
Jul 06, 2015 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
...more
Hannah
Dec 19, 2015 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
Helen Baldwin
May 07, 2015 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 ...more
William
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Supposedly "young adult fiction," so maybe I am having a second childhood, since I enjoyed this set of nine linked stories enormously. Nothing deep or complicated here, but a lot of good, honest feeling and a lovely dose of wry humor. The stories, actually, would make a nice BBC series.

There is, of course, no symbolism, and not a whole lot of character development. But the characters are deftly etched and gosh, it's fun to read good writing presenting good stories. This was a wonderfully
...more
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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