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Customer Review

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad disappointment and lost opportunity. `Not what it says on the Tin', 26 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3) (Hardcover)
I persevered with this book and gave it continual benefit of the doubt because it was by Alan Garner. I suspect that the publishers felt likewise. It is hard to conceive that it would have made it off the `slush pile' and seen publishing light of day were it by a first-time author. I finished `Boneland' only with effort (and relief) and the sense that my faith had been misplaced.
The continuity elements of this sequel volume could be summarised in half a page with room to spare (and have been in other reviews here). Otherwise it might as well have been a `stand-alone' story. The balance is self-indulgent to the point of incomprehensibility and, paradoxically enough, comes over as a lot less 'adult' than its supposedly intended-for-children predecessors. Those had the imagination-fuelling effect of revealing another just-as-real (and unsafe) reality beyond and below the mundane world. Whereas I felt that `Boneland' disrespects and subverts both `Brisingamen' and `Gomrath' in abandoning all that. The `deep England' and living, breathing, far-from-mythological, elements are gone. Are we meant to take it they were all just a dream? Certainly, the supporting cast in 'Boneland' give that impression (and are unconvincing and irritating to boot).
In short, this wasn't the conclusion to the series I and many others had yearned for over many years - not even remotely so. The earlier books are Mr Garner's invention and property and so he has the right to do with them as he wishes. I in turn wish he hadn't bothered. I realise it is unreasonable to ask or expect him to create as if it were still fifty years ago. However, in his evolution as a writer he seems to have painted himself into a very tight conceptual corner - a claustrophobic and intensely personal corner where I'd rather not join him or linger. For me, sad to say, 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' (1960) and 'The Moon of Gomrath' (1963) remain as they were before: tantalisingly incomplete and awaiting resolution.

One other thing: I see that a self-appointed 'guardian of the flame' has systematically gone through each unfavourable review on this site and placed a comment or comments implying that those who did not enjoy this book lacked the intelligence to do so. Anyone intending anything other than a five star rating be warned.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Oct 2012 17:40:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Oct 2012 17:52:05 BDT
parsley sage says:
Nice. Yesterday I was just thinking I should lay off the whole comments thing. If I'm guilty of anything it's barking up the wrong tree in terms of actively engaging in debate and discussion. That's what it's all about ultimately. I don't believe my responses have been disproportionate to the content of 'some' of the reviews (consider the review that likens the book to ebola masquerading as whiskey). I certainly haven't systematically gone through each unfavourable review. My comments are still online for all to see, as are the unfavourable reviews, and folks can make their own mind up about whether or not I am suggesting that people aren't intelligent. It might even get interesting. You yourself have posed a rhetorical question in your review which could inspire some discussion. No comment I make should ever be taken as a completely writing off a person. I don't know the person, I am responding to the content on the screen.

Everybody who has written a review will have at least two things in common and that is a love of the first 2 books. Surely there is some scope for discussion there?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 13:53:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Nov 2012 16:46:22 GMT
Lysistrata says:
I am very disappointed that you have not yet savaged my review - Gawaine with Aspergers. It must be obvious to you that I know nothing about triple godesses and am completely uninterested in the authorship of the GGK manuscript. I just think that Alan Garner, who writes better than any of us ever will, could have made it clearer. I do not think "it was all just a dream." So would you please write your own review of Boneland. I am slightly irritated by some reviews which smugly intimate that the meaning of the book is obvious.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 18:20:06 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 8 Nov 2012 18:57:24 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 19:17:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Nov 2012 10:18:45 GMT
parsley sage says:
Sorry I thought your comment was by the original reviewer and wrote a response with that in mind. Then I deleted it.

I wouldn't say the meaning of the book is obvious, but it certainly isn't as totally alien to the first two stories as some reviews suggest and I don't think Alan Garner is trying to be obscure. Even the first two novels were full of ambiguities.

Just out of interest, what are you referring to here?

"It must be obvious to you that I know nothing about triple godesses and am completely uninterested in the authorship of the GGK manuscript"

I don't think I've even mentioned the Green Knight manuscript and having read your review I'd say you probably know as much about it as I do, if not more.

I will write a review, honest.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012 18:00:20 GMT
Lysistrata says:
The triple godess theme and authorship of GGK MS seem important to some reviewers in determining the meaning of Boneland. I wrongly assumed they were important to you as you do not take issue with them. Sorry.

I look forward to your review. You seem to have more light than I do.

Posted on 15 Aug 2014 13:19:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Sep 2014 13:23:12 BDT
Steve B says:
While I enjoyed this book enormously, I accept that some people (for various reasons) didn't and their ratings will reflect that. I know I have been taken to task elsewhere on Amazon by people saying "how dare you give this book/cd/dvd less than 5 stars when anyone who knows anything regards it as a masterpiece!" etc. The disappointment many reviewers felt with Boneland is I think a real tribute to the enduring appeal of the two precurser novels which Boneland (arguably) subverts and disrespects. Apparantly Alan Garner gave an interview in which he said he had come to hate the characters Colin and Susan. If that's true, I'm sorry to hear it, as I have always been rather fond of them.
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Location: Surrey, England.

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