Not Enough Bookshelves: The Owl Service

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Owl Service

The Owl Service – Alan Garner

Rating 3/5

Read for Joy’s YA Challenge

This was such a strange little story. It concerns three teenagers; step siblings Alison and Roger who are on holiday in Wales and the cooks son Gwyn. They’re doomed to play out a love triangle that has haunted the valley for years.

There is a mixture of welsh legend, mystery, romance and social awareness. I didn’t feel any of the characters were very well portrayed apart form Gwyn – he is at the heart of the story and the only one the reader really connects with.

The use of dialogue to advance the plot was interesting. The reader is never told what the characters are feeling or thinking we’re left to infer it form what they say. This can be confusing but also very powerful. When Alison betrays Gwyn’s secret to Roger the dialogue conveys both Alison’s regret and Gwyn’s immense hurt, without anything more needing to be added.

“Alison.” Gwyn backed away from them. “Alison.”
“Gwyn! Don’t look at me like that. Don’t.”
“Don’t! Don’t look at me like that! – Don’t! – I can’t stand it!”

I did enjoy the story I thought the tension built up very well but the end left me a little mystified as to what had happened. It seemed a little to simple if this legend had been haunting the valley for centuries.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my great favourites and I reviewed re-read of it recently here

    If you want to try something else by him you might look at ‘The Stone Book’ which is four short stories about different generations of his own family.


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