Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Owl Service, by Alan Garner, 1967

Gwyn and his mother came to work as servants; Alison and her stepbrother Roger came for a summer holiday to Alison’s Welsh estate. When Gwyn and Alison discover a dish service covered in a floral pattern that, when carefully traced, shapes owls, the three teens are swept into replaying ancient Welsh myth. With extraordinary characterization and storytelling relying almost wholly on dialogue and inner monologue, the text moves with swift intensity. Mythical and mystical, with the suspense of mystery and the tumult of epic, as well as the psychological complexity of superb realism. Strongly recommended, for multiple readings.

2 comments:

chelle said...

Hi! I just found The Owl Service in Paris, for the ride home. I'm still trying to figure it out. But it's haunting, isn't it?

Julie Berry said...

Read this link about Math ap Mathonwy in Welsh mythology, and then the Owl Service will make a lot more sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Math_ap_Mathonwy
You'll recognize some character names from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series, but his use of Mabinogian characters is sort of Welsh Mythology Lite.