21 May 2013

Review: THE EARTH HUMS IN B FLAT, Mari Strachan

Synopsis (Text Publishing)

Up here, far away from everybody, the night is peaceful; there’s no sound except the hum of the Earth. At school, when I sang the note to Mr Hughes he said it was B flat.

Gwenni Morgan can fly in her sleep—that’s how she sees what’s going on in the village, and how she tries to make some sense of her family and her world. But Gwenni’s mother isn’t too keen on her daughter’s imaginative ways; she doesn’t want anyone thinking her odd.

When Ifan Evans goes missing, Gwenni tries to help find him, much to her mother’s distress. And as she begins to put the pieces together, a terrible truth is revealed.

Set in a small Welsh village in the 1950s, The Earth Hums in B Flat is a story of dark family secrets. It’s filled with wonderful characters and written with insight and sparkling tenderness.

My Take

This is a delightful read, a story told from the point of view of 12 year old Gwenni Morgan. There were so many parts evocative of my own childhood (here in post war South Australia), little references and sayings, like little pitchers have big ears, as adults try to have private gossips and conversations.

Gwenni reads detective stories handed on by her Auntie Lol and Gwenni sees herself as a budding detective in the vein of her hero Albert Campion. Gwenni takes notes which makes her a useful witness at times. She doesn't always understand the events, or their aftermath, that she has witnessed and sometimes adults misinterpret what she thinks she has seen. Gwenni is keen to solve mysteries and is a constant source of aggravation to her mother who worries that people will think Gwenni is "odd". Nor does Gwenni always understand what others have said. That's where the reader comes in with our superior experience and interpretive skills. And that's what makes this book fun to read.

The disappearance of Ifan Evans has far reaching consequences for the little village, and in the end the reader may well ask if justice has been done.

The other aspect of this book is village life, close knit families with secrets, deep running prejudices, and mental instability caused by past traumas.

My rating: 4.7

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1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Kerrie - It comes up soon on my TBR.

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