The Owl Service
It begins with the scratching in the ceiling. From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, patterned with floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress as Alison, her step-brother Roger, and the Welsh boy Gwyn are drawn into the replay of a tragic Welsh l... read full description below.
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Description of this Book
Winner of both the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal, this is an all-time classic, combining mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships. It all begins with the scratching in the ceiling. 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 effect everybody's lives. Relentlessly, Alison, her step-brother Roger and Welsh boy Gwyn are drawn into the replay of a tragic Welsh legend -- a modern drama played out against a background of ancient jealousies. As the tension mounts, it becomes apparent that only by accepting and facing the situation can it be resolved.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
Winner of Guardian Children's Fiction Award 1968
Winner of Carnegie Medal 1967
||...A rare imaginative feat and the taste that it leaves is haunting. The Observer
||The mystery of spirits loosed, of souls possessed, assumes a dimension beyond fantasy in Alan Garner's latest book, which is his finest if also his most elliptical. In an old house in a Welsh valley three adolescents discover, in a sealed attic that has been emitting inexplicable sounds, a dinner service decorated with flowers in the form of an owl; and the trap one sets disgorges an owl's pellel, not a whole mouse. Gwyn, son of Nancy the housekeeper, is momentarily mesmerized by the plates but it is Alison, come to stay with her new stepfather and stepbrother Roger, who is obsessed with the owls. From a copy of the mythical Mabinogion and the cryptic remarks of handyman Huw Halfbacon, reinforced by the instinctive sympathy between them. Alison and Gwyn realize that they are, with Roger, reenacting an ancient tragedy of jealousy and retribution that has recurred in each generation. The tensions among them are very real, very much a matter of class; Gwyn is the clever comer, Alison is the aristocrat. Roger is the snob?? In scenes which approach the intensity of Strindberg, Gwyn forces Alison to face him, and herself, recoils when he thinks he's been betrayed, ultimately humbles Roger and gives him the clue to saving Alison. However gripping, this is not lugubrious and not without ??humer, albeit ironic. An uncommon book for uncommon readers of some maturity. (Kirkus Reviews)
Alan Garner was born in Cheshire, where he still lives today. His first book -The Weirdstone of Brisingamen - was published in 1960.