Justine's Reviews > Three Bags Full

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
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Aug 05, 2007

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bookshelves: library
Read in September, 2008

I learned about Three Bags Full from the NYT book review and was immediately interested-- a dead shepherd.. and a murder mystery from the point of view of his literary flock of sheep? winner!

The structure of the book itself is slyly quaint. It opens with "Dramatis Oves" (sheep only, obvi.) and neatly and wittly heads each chapter title.

I gave Three Bags Full four stars is because it's oddly innovative and wackily off-kilter. The (myopic) narrative lens is applied deftly and way more effectively than you'd think. Swann provides a remarkably coherent framework that grows and breathes with the plot.

A delightful read!


"In the moonlight, he had seen the spade and the shaggy wolf's ghost, abut he couldn't describe it in any more detail. He was so frighted that he fell asleep at once."

"A soul was the opposite of a Thing. It was something that helped you to discover the world. Something very valuable and very important even if, as in the case of humans, it was only a very small soul."

"Feeling frustrated now, Rameses head-butted Maude, who bleated indignantly. So did Heather. Zora nipped her hindquarters. Strangely enough, Heather didn't react, but instead Lane, Cordelia, and the two young mother ewes all began bleating at once. Ritchfield's hooves were scraping up grass and earth. Lane nudged Maisie, the most naive sheep in the flock. Maisie almost fell over with surprise, and then nipped Cloud lightly in the ear. Cloud kicked out and hit Maude's foreleg. All the sheep were offended, and all were bleating..."
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