Alan Garner’s The Owl Service

A couple of days ago I was perusing Amazon for a new book to read when I came across Alan Garner’s The Owl Service and instantly I was transported to my Year 5 classroom in Sacred Heart Primary School.

My teacher was Mrs. Wynne (whom we [the students] called ‘Miss’ Wynne even though she was married, and before she was married we called her ‘Mrs.’ Goldsworthy – a reflection I can’t help but giggle at), and she had the class read The Owl Service for group reading. During group reading, she would sit with five or six students at a table and each of us would take turns reading a page of a book. The only notable books I remember reading in Year 5 were Goosebumps, Moon Dial and The Owl Service. We also read a book I can’t remember the title of; in it some children were playing on a frozen lake and the ice broke – it scared the living crap out of me and gave me a lifelong fear of ice. (If you know which book I’m on about, please let me know what the title was, I can’t remember for the life of me.)

Anyway, we read The Owl Service and it was an experience! I ended up borrowing it from the local library a few times afterwards, so utterly taken by the story. It was mesmerising! I hung to every word; I remember shivers running down my spine, I can recall the eeriness of Alison tracing the pattern on the plates, I can remember the billiard room … I’m intrigued to read the book again, almost twenty years later, and see what bits I missed – like watching a TV show or film from childhood as an adult and realising all the adult jokes and inspirational monologues you missed because you were too young to understand them.

The copy of The Owl Service I ordered is a new cover – far from the cover the book had back when I read it. I also ordered a few other Alan Garner books while I was at it, as you can see in the picture below.

I can’t wait to read The Owl Service again; I’m excited to be transported back into shoes of my nine-year-old self. As I said earlier, we also read Moondial by Helen Cresswell. Moondial is another incredible book that enchanted my childhood self and excitingly I found it on Amazon too. It’s from a third-party seller so it’s going to take a little while to arrive, but I’m excited nonetheless.

I came across a website dedicated to The Owl Service, http://www.theowlservice.co.uk/, check it out if you want more information on the book and the author.

Anyway, it’s time for me to end this post – it had nothing to do with anything I’m working on, but I wanted to share it with you anyway. I do hope you check out Alan Garner’s work and please let me know what you think.

I leave you now with the blurb of The Owl Service:

From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, with its curious pattern of floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress that is to affect everybody’s lives.

Something old and powerful is stirring in the Welsh valley. Alison, Roger and Gwyn can all feel it, but only Huw seems to understand it. Inevitably, forces from the past overwhelm the present. Will any of them be strong enough to forestall the fate that threatens?

Stay warm! – GSKT

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