Throwback Thursday: The Owl Service by Alan Garner

Today I’m looking back to 8th January 2008 when I wrote about The Owl Service by Alan Garner. I’d borrowed this book from my local library. First published in 1967 this book won both the 1968 Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction and the 1967 Carnegie Medal. This is an all-time classic, combining mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships.

Here is an extract from my post:

The Owl Service is not just a children’s book – it’s for anyone who likes a good story with a mixture of mystery, adventure and history. The setting is very important – it is in Wales, that beautiful Land of My Fathers (well, in my case my mother). It’s always a mysterious, magical place, and although the sun does shine it is usually shrouded in cloud and pouring rain whenever I visit.

The basis of the story is the Welsh legend from The Mabinogion about Lleu and his wife Blodeuwedd who was made for him out of flowers. It’s a tragic story because Blodeuwedd and her lover Gronw murdered Lleu, who was then brought back to life by magic. Lleu then killed Gronw by throwing a spear, which went right through the stone behind which Gronw was hiding; Blodeuwedd was then turned into an owl.

Click here to read my review

Alan Garner was born in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1934. His began writing his first novel at the age of 22 and is renowned as one of Britain’s outstanding writers. He has won many prizes for his writing, and, in 2001 he was awarded the OBE for services to literature. He holds four honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature .

10 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: The Owl Service by Alan Garner

  1. That’s a really interesting idea, Margaret, to take a look back at posts one’s done. Among other things, it shows how one’s reading habits change over time, and I find that fascinating. This one sounds like a great book, too. Stories based on legends give us, I think, a real insight into the way people think at different times. And of course, they’re interesting in themselves.

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  2. I loved Garner’s earlier books, including The Owl Service. I’m so annoyed that when we moved I gave those books away, just to try to make the move not so awful. They were lovely hardbacks too, I might have to re-buy.

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    1. Oh, that is a shame! I’ve also regretted giving books away, usually after I’ve decided I won’t re-read them and then later realising that I do want to.


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