Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 1967
Genre Fiction
Origin UK
My Copy library copy
First Read December 29, 2017

The Owl Service

I picked this up because people were mentioning it online as akin to The Dark is Rising, which I just re-read this winter break. While there are a lot of paper similarities, this book didn't land for me at all. I think there were a few intermingled causes:

1. There are two very specific kinds of UK-speak that seemed hard to parse (Welsh speech patterns but in English, and a kind of lazy early-century snooty rich Brit Jeeves-and-Wooster thing that I surprisingly had trouble with ('Ho, chum, bang on then.'). I literally had to resort to Wikipedia to understand what was going on for big sections of the book.

2. There are several plot elisions, where something mysterious and terrifying happens, and then a chapter cuts off - and characters never mention it again. This kind of sublimating and avoidance is critical to the overall plot, but it left me very confused.

3. The whole magic part of the story involves some light posession of people that is touched on briefly, but never really explained much - so I had trouble understanding nearly anybody's motivations.

Anyway, a weird one. The big picture plot involves a family cursed to re-incarnate a doomed love triangle from the dark welsh past, which inexorably marches forward. It's not a sunny book.

Noted on January 13, 2018

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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