The Owl Service

Alan Garner. HarperCollins. (240p) ISBN: 9780007127894

The Owl Service
The Owl Service
A children’s classic that has passed me by, along with so many others.

It was reading Bookworm by Lucy Mangan that I’ve realised I have such a huge hole in my reading, classic children’s fiction and I’m now trying to catch up on this now.

The Owl Service is set in a house owned by an English family in a Welsh valley. It explores Welsh mythology, family dynamics, class, and service in a changing world.

A power is set loose gradually which starts to dominate the personalities of the main characters in the story, making them repeat a story that has been happening in the valley for centuries. Alan Garner threads this through the story with a fine hand, letting the characters off the reins of the power occasionally to allow them to discover that this has happened before.

The heavy use of dialogue did have me working hard to keep up with the story at the beginning but it suited the idea of a local mythology being orally transmitted and I eventually got into the rhythm of the story.

The pace of the dialogue got faster as the story neared its ending, and the ending was so fast that it did require rereading to set it clearer.

A great start to filling the gaps in my reading.

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