The Owl Service

One of the unintended side effects of my year-of-not-buying-books might be that I will re-read some of my old treasured favourites, including this one: Alan Garner's classic, The Owl Service. I remember when I first saw this book on the shelf as a child, I had a muddled idea that 'service' meant something like 'postal service' -- I imagined owls flitting back and forth with messages... Ooh! I wonder if that's how JK Rowling came up with her owl post!

But in this book, it means 'dinner service' ie plates.

I picked this copy up for $4 somewhere, just to own it, but I haven't re-read it for years. It's fantastic, a creepy, intense tale of Welsh myth and adolescent yearning. The three-way pattern of doomed love keeps repeating through the generations, which is an idea I might have unconsciously picked up for Crow Country, come to think of it.

The magic is released when Alison traces the pattern on a set of plates and makes paper owls out of it, which was something I always had trouble visualising, but thanks to the magic of the internet, I looked up Alan Garner's website and found a picture of the original owl plate, a gift to Garner from a friend.

So that's how it works! Simple, really.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to comment on a book review, but I wanted to make sure you'd see my comment: Any news on the next Tremaris book?