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Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3) Paperback – 6 Jun 2013
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‘From Harry Potter to The Hunger Games, adults have been enthusiastically been reading children’s books over recent years. Garner predates the cross over phenomenon by decades, but he has never been just a children’s writer: he’s far richer, odder and deeper than that’ Guardian
‘He deploys short, accurate words better than anyone else writing in English today, and he makes it look simple. Boneland is the strangest, but also the strongest of Garner’s books. It feels like a capstone to a career that has taken him, as a writer, to remarkable places, and returned him to the same place he started, to the landscape of Alderley Edge and to the sleepers under the hill’ The Times
‘Boneland hooks into the mind, haunting, provoking…This novel functions like a dream, containing hints at insights that, once we wake, we yearn to grasp again’ Telegraph
‘There is much left unexplained. However, this is a novel for all the children who loved ‘The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen’ but who have now grown up.’ Four out of Five stars. Sarah Kingsford, Express
About the Author
ALAN GARNER was born in Congleton in Cheshire in October 1934. He was brought up on Alderley and lives with his wife and family, between Congleton and Alderley. Alan Garner's writing was Highly Recommended for the only international children's book award, The Hans Christian Andersen Medal, in 1978. He was also awarded the twelfth annual Children's Literature Association International Phoenix Award for his novel The Stone Book and by extension, of course, for the entire Stone Book Quartet. In 2001, Alan was awarded an OBE for his services to Children's Literature, despite admitting that he doesn't write for children - they just understand his books best.
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Its an exercise in writing that's cleverly done and keeps you guessing, but entirely unsatisfying.
Call me naïve or shallow if you like, but while I admire the execution of the work, I derived little pleasure from the story.
Alan Garner will have evolved, as a writer naturally does, in many ways since the times when he wrote 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' and 'The Moon of Gomrath' and his style also will have adjusted to his changing levels of maturity as a writer. I would therefore suggest that those who were used to the style and content of the earlier volumes, will find that a reading of this book may result in a bit of a shock, if one is expecting more of the same and a continuation of existing stylistic conventions.
It would be difficult, for instance, to regard this as a children's book, as the dream-like, stream of conscience approach would be hard, if not impossible for the typical child to understand. It also differs so considerably in its approach that it contradicts the fluidity that one might expect of a trilogy. (Hence my award of four rather than five points.)
Although Alan Garner's books have always required a high level of intelligent reading skill for children to understand, it would be realistic to fathom
that this book has been focused on those (such as myself) who read the earlier books and have acquired maturity themselves in the intervening years (in my case, a period that represents over fifty years.)
Consequently, I would recommend that this book would achieve its full value as a worthy read, by adults, but would question its overall accessibility to children of a similar ilk to those who would have been captivated by the earlier two volumes.
Instead, the reader of Boneland has to suffer a complete vacuum of plot. One of the protagonists (Collin) from the original books is an old professor with total amnesia concerning his sister and the events of the previous books.
Spoiler alert: By the end of the book Collin gets a vague recall about his sister. That is the entire book summarised.
The real spoiler is this book's existence. It is a depressing indication of an author's outstanding early talent disappearing with age, and being replaced with self-indulgent pretentiousness. I would advise any fans of the previous books to avoid Boneland as it will forever mar their enjoyment of those books.
To make matters worse the Kindle edition is broken as there are no divisions between the chapters. You just go from one sentence to the next all the way through and when you are already dealing with a story that flits from a psychotic to a spiritualistic flint knapper, it makes it nigh on impossible to get through.
I didn't like the disjointed style of writing and the loose ends, who were Meg and Bert? How did the Watcher fit into the "Susan" part of the story?
Maybe it was too subtle for me.