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on 17 September 2017
If the Weirdstone of Brisingamen was a classic and The Moon of Gomrath a poor follow up that left us abruptly wanting more, I was hoping for so much more than this. Well written but only an echo of his previous work. In this more recent book, Colin, now in his 50s is struggling and the explanation though obvious makes difficult reading. This is not a book you can just pick up and read, it takes effort from page one, and I have still no idea what some of page one was alluding to. Slowly, as I became immersed in it the book grabbed my attention, it fought with me and I followed it through to the end but alas, as in the Moon of Gomrath it ends abruptly. I am convinced this will be a book that will have its devotees but as a conclusion to an unexpected trilogy it is a total disappointment. I did not want, expect or demand a happy ending, but I did want to know what happened to Colin and Susan and I still have no idea.
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on 22 August 2017
You would have to have read the original books prior to this, for the story to make sense.
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on 23 November 2016
This is one of the most beautiful, haunting and disturbing books I have read. If you are an adolescent, only recently exposed to The Weirdstone and The Moon of Gomrath, I am confident that this book, as a supposed conclusion to those works, will jar and disappoint. Similarly, if you grew up with the earlier works in the seventies and have maintained a love of traditional fantasy down the years, you are likely to be dissatisfied with Boneland. Where is the Wizard? Where are the fabulous creatures? Where is the simple tale, simply told? They are not here and if they are what you are looking for, look elsewhere. But if, like me, you grew up with the earlier works, loved them dearly (and still re-read them occasionally) but have begun to tire of the naive, derivative nature of most fantasy writing; if you are looking for a perspective on mythology that has grown and matured as you have grown and matured, then you may just love this book. In the earlier works, the magical dimension was separate from the real world, but on occasion revealed itself to the child characters and others. In Boneland, there is little in the way of revelation. The fantasy world is always at arms' length; it's very existence is questioned and questionable and, in the end, it is very much up to the reader to conclude what they will regarding it. And yet there is magic here and it is more sophisticated than the magic of elves and goblins. It is interwoven with the real world in both time and space. It paints the world and our history and prehistory in colours far more intense than those we are familiar with. It makes the case that there has always been magic as long as people have believed there was magic. There is poetry that takes effort to decipher. It may take a while to understand the songs sung by a stone-age man, to realise that his songs and actions are a manifestation of his need to have a meaning in the world, to make a difference to it, to not only witness the rising of the sun, but to help ensure it will happen each day by engaging in ritual, like some kind of Palaeolithic obsessive compulsion. There is no chase through the claustrophobic tunnels of the Edge, but there are rabbit holes aplenty that the reader must crawl into and navigate in the damaged mind of Colin, the protagonist, and it is no less breathless and exhilarating an adventure. But it is painful at times, and disturbing, and challenging. If you're looking for closure, look elsewhere. But if you want to connect with magic - future and past, continuous, permanent, resonating - then this may be the book for you.
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on 10 January 2013
Well, another very enjoyable read, couldn't put it down, no Chapters, brilliant.- I always enjoy reading these books
as it stirs memories of many things, like leaning out of my bedroom window and seeing Jodrell Bank being built in the
distance, this activity from Moss Bank Farm, Seven Sisters Lane, Toft, now nothing like the farm it was in the old
days, but "done up posh" for the wealthy owners.
Many other familiarities through the book, as usual some I don't understand, but will spend time on the net to help
my understanding.
Dorothy.
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on 30 September 2013
So what might happen when the child star of Weirdstone grows up and hits 50? This book provides an answer, but provokes more questions as well. This is no children's book, but written for the adults who were children when Weirdstone was printed. Garner's love of folklore and the circular nature of myth are evident in this book: it is written from two viewpoints, ancient and modern. I must say that I found the modern day viewpoint the more interesting one, and I think he could have made more of it and the back story of Colin's sister. However it is an interesting closure of the tale.
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on 4 April 2016
What an exquisite pleasure! I first met Alan Garner's work in the summer of the last year of primary school when our teacher read the Weirdstone aloud to us in instalments at the end of each day. I read his other children's books as they appeared in the library. Each one left a lingering taste.
Only recently, I remembered Red Shift and decided to read it again. This set me off on a journey which finished here.
Rereading the Weirdstone and the Moon of Gomrath again, I was struck by how odd they were but also by how much they had coloured my world. Ideas, experiences, feelings, my interest in language, history and landscape; they all seen to have been forged in those summer afternoons long ago. Some part of me, it seemed had always been waiting on the hillside at the end of the Moon of Gomrath, wondering what had become of Susan.
All I can say is: nice try JK Rowling, here is how it is actually done. It is not an easy book. It takes a bit of work to climb into it and the summit keeps receding before you. But it is thrilling on so many levels. You will want to read it again.
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on 28 August 2012
Boneland weaves together a sort of Dreamtime story and the story of Colin, now an astrophysicist, in need of psychotherapy from the seductive Meg. After one reading I`m not clear what has happened but I think the allusions to the medieval poem Gawaine and the Green Knight may hold the answer. Phrases like "token of untruth" and "governor of this gang" coupled with the behaviour of Meg and Bert(Bertilak ?) suggest that Colin is a Gawaine figure who needs to forgive himself. But for what ? He is traumatised by the disappearance of his twin sister Susan when she was only twelve and seems to think she may be among the Pleiades. I hope she is and that Colin`s four foot axe has nothing to do with it.

So much is puzzling yet the book is compelling and fascinating. It is also very funny in places, as when Meg reassures Colin his happiness is only "a transient euphoria." It plays with language - "I`m going back to Imazaz ............Imazaz a pub next door." Colin himself has an Asperger trait where he likes to tell Meg rather more than she wants to know about his favourite subjects. Gawaine`s obsession with truth and his endless knot have turned into Colin`s pedantic annoyance over the contemporary misuse of the word "icon."

Those who like a story to tie up all the threads could say the ending shows a re-integration of Colin`s split-off Selves. But where would unmothered Colin find Meg, that exuberant nurturing life-giving figure who zooms up on her motorbike clad in black leathers and helmet (after lopping holly) ? She has all the energy of the Green Knight and the same dismissive way with Colin`s excessive guilt.

By the way, the risselty rosselty song need not be a problem. It`s what the children were singing at the beginning of the Hitchcock film, "The Birds." Another song, "I plink -a-ti-plonk/I Casa-bi-onk" is currently driving me crazy, like the one Colin sings which never reaches the line "Pretty little black-eyed Susie."

On a second and third reading I`m still not sure what kind of book this is. The text seems to reconfigure itself every time I put it down. Is it a modern version of The Waste Land or a modern version of the medieval dream poem where Colin is anaesthetised in the first eight lines and then has a mystical experience ? Whatever it is, it will make you think harder than most other books.
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on 19 January 2017
Read Weirdstone and Gomrath many. many years ago and loved them. Only just got round to reading this. To sell it as the concluding volume of a trilogy is in my opinion misleading. The links to the previous two books are tenuous at best, and border on non-existent. Given that, I really don't see how you can consider it part of a trilogy with the earlier works. That said, how does it fair as a standalone work? Not very well in my opinion. Much of the text, particularly in the "fantasy" segments, is dull and repetitive and quickly becomes tedious. And as for the "real life" segments, much of the dialogue is cringe-worthily bad, particularly Meg's. If you can't believe that real people would actually speak like that it makes it difficult to immerse yourself in the story. As you can probably tell I was very disappointed with the book. However, the number of positive reviews show that many other people loved it. The only way to find out is to read it for yourself I suppose. For me the best thing I can say about it is that it was mercifully short. In my opinion it's one for diehard Garner fans only.
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on 18 September 2012
Almost every single one of Alan Garner's novels, bar maybe the The Owl Service, pour their individual narratives into this book. If you have read Elidor you will realise he is not afraid of dark endings to tales about children. If you have read Red Shift you won't be surprised at deep parallel times and astronomical elements being part of the mix. If all you have read is just The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath you really, really ought not to read this book as it is only going to upset you. If you want to keep that lighter, easier, childhood memory just stop at The Moon of Gomrath.

If however you are made of stronger stuff and want to complete the "trilogy" it is worth it but you really to arm yourself first with by, at very least, reading Red Shift, Strandloper,Thursbitch and the The Stone Book Quartet- and it probably wouldn't hurt either to read Elidor and The Owl Service just to get accustomed to his darkening tone...
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on 22 October 2012
Like many people I was introduced to reading by the publishing of 'The Weirdstone' closely followed by The Moon of Gomrath which as a 11 year old gave me an interest of the mythical and the 'Olde World', and both of which I throughly enjoyed.Both these books were passed on to my 2 sons who also enjoyed them and developed similar interests to myself. I was disppointed that stories of Colin and Susan ended after The Moon of Gomrath and although I did read other books by Alan Garner none of these were as enjoyable as his first two. So now alot older I was delighted when I discovered he had written what was described as the last of the Colin and Susan stories called 'Boneland' bringing them to a conclussion,and could not wait to read it and ordered it on my kindle pre publication so I could read in whilst on holiday, which I looked forward to with the excitment of an 11 year old? . What did I expect more about Cadellin the wizard, dwarfs, elves, magic the age old struggle between good and evil? To be frank yes I did.
What I got was a story for adults with no involvemnet of the very characters and events that made the first 2 books so enjoyable and exciting and not having read many of Mr Garners later novels could not figure out the place of the sub plot in the story and in finding out what had happened to Susan? Am I the only person to have found this confussing and there was never a definative answer what had happened to her. Obviously after 'Gomrath' she had gone to the 'Stars'but surely through the 'olde magic' she could have been brought back?

Having read comments from other readers they appear to have read other things into the story that I missed which makes sense to them but I am sorry I obviously didn't pick up on them. I have great affection for Alan Garner and will be forever grateful for his early books which really encouraged an 11 year old to read but I'm sorry 'Boneland' was not an enjoyable or satisfactory read for me. Does anyone else feel the same?
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