The Owl Service (Junior Classics) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Published over 40 years ago, The Owl Service is set in Wales in a grand house used only in the summer by an English family. Its residents are unaware of the ancient forces that dwell in the valley and are stirring again. Three young people, two English and one Welsh, are pulled into a drama of class and national animosity that becomes linked to a primeval sin of hubris. This completely enthralling story is read by Wayne Forester, a virtuoso of men and women's voices as well as of regional accents: from Welsh of different classes to English ones, snooty to mild. Forester proceeds at an unhurried pace that increases the plot's tension while intermittent passages of spooky music further tighten it. --Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post
Experienced narrator Wayne Forester is superb. Not only does he take on the voices of disparate characters with practiced ease, he also manages it so seamlessly and immediately that it seems as though there must be two speakers. Twilight readers and others who like to be frightened should enjoy this Carnegie Medal and Guardian Award winner. --Mary Purucker, Soundcommentary.com
From the Back Cover
The flowery owl pattern on the old dinner service, which Gwyn finds in a loft, obsesses Alison. Its discovery marks the start of an extraordinary chain of events that affect not only Gwyn and Alison, but also her stepbrother, Roger. For there's a power stirring in the remote valley that dates from a sad and distant myth – a tragic Welsh legend that has begun to repeat itself. Gwyn tries to shake off his involvement by running away, but he cannot escape, and, as the tension mounts, he is made to realise that only by facing up to the myth can it be resolved.
'The Owl Service' won both The Carnegie Medal and The Guardian Award.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a stunning, sparsely written and fast-paced read, underscored with a creepy, scary atmosphere that could well put you off family holidays in Wales for ever.
I probably discovered more about the possibilities of well-written fiction from this book than I did from any other. There are beautiful, haunting, descriptions such as Gwyn's nocturnal walk through the wood, spooked by phantom flames which he unconvincingly tries to reason away as marsh gas; there are moments of intense drama such as the attempt to escape from the valley during a torrential downpour and there are beautifully deft character descriptions: Gwyn's mother Nancy's fear and panic as she sees the past inevitably reaching out to the present for example, or the way Alison unknowingly plays the coquette.Read more ›
The house is also home to the mad gardener Huw, the surly and possessive housekeeper Nancy and her ambitious son, Gwyn.
It’s an impressive novel originally intended for a juvenile readership but, as these things tend to do, ended up being just as popular with adults.
The style is fast-paced, sparse, and doesn’t patronise the reader with pages, or even paragraphs of scene-setting. The reader learns all they need to know from the action, the language and the conversations. The name of the valley is never mentioned, nor even the village, yet within a few pages we are able to find our feet and things immediately start getting weird.
Alison, ill in bed seemingly with stomach-ache, is plagued by scratching noises from the attic above. Gwyn, sent to investigate, discovers only a dinner-service with a complex floral design around the edge of each piece.
Alison discovers that when she traces the design and cuts it out, elements of it can be folded to produce the stylised body of an owl.
The paper owls disappear as she creates them, and with them, the design from beneath the glaze of the plates.
It transpires that an ancient power is still bound by the valley and an emotional and physical triangle is repeating itself down through the ages, finding candidates in each generation to re-enact an old drama in order to release the power stored in the valley.Read more ›
This was a re-reading of the book after having seen the actual Owl Service finder plate at the recent Magical Books expedition at Oxford Bodleian Library. After being disappointed Brett my re-reading of two of Alan Garner's books earlier this year, I was a bit apprehensive about this one. I needn't have worried. Despite being set in the 60s this book is as current and as fresh as ever. Even the references to film photography and home processing don't age it.
It's a story that involves a dysfunctional family and their housekeeper and her son who know more about the secret that lies in the Welsh valley than they ought. It's a classic tale, from an old Welsh myth, worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this as a teenager but have just re-read in my forties. It is full of magic and has left me wanting more. Garner is a genius at drawing on landscape and mythology. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by SL Peacock
I'd remembered this story from an old tv adaptation - but the book is much more interesting - simply written for a much younger reader than myself - easy to read because of that -... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jer
Read this in school as a child, still as magical, pubescent and scaryPublished 3 months ago by sue jones
In A fine Anger Neil Phillip says that this book “is not a Fantasy, but a novel about human relationships, a tripartite examination of the destructive power of possessive love”. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sue Bridgwater
I think this may be aimed at a younger reader, however it was well written and I did finish it.Published 5 months ago by E.N.E.
Bought this as had vague memories of wanting to read it a s a child and never got round to it. Now I know why, its convoluted and difficult to read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rennae Ellis