Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Hollow Land by Jane Gardam

"The sun's well up now and I never saw such a morning. Coming up to Cautley Spout the waterfall's hanging like a white thread far down the end of the dale--and closer in there's a red fox running in the bracken and looking quick and angry at all the henhouses still shut up in the yard of old Hannah's white fqrm where she went when her husband, Tatton, got overexcited living in a signal box when trains came back, (But he's well looked after now.) 

"Hannah's kitchen window is steamed over, so she's up. There's a spire of blue smoke going up from her chimney--a blue thread going up like the white waterfall coming down.  '

 The quiet beauty of this book kind of snuck up on me.  Set in very rural Cumbria, a place where the mines have played out and farming is the occupation of the inhabitants who haven't moved away, the book is a collection of stories/vignettes about the rural community and a family from London who rent an old farmhouse as a vacation getaway. 

As the city folk and country folk learn each others' ways, the children of the London family become more and more adapted to the local ways, as, indeed, do their parents. 

It's a pleasantly quiet series of events, spanning many years--and the epitome of a comfort read for troubled times. Then too, I saw so many parallels with our own experience in moving from the suburbs of Tampa to very rural Madison County. 

But it's the beauty of the descriptions that will send me back to read it again, as well as sending me in search of more of Gardam's work. Old Filth, I think, will be the next.

Highly recommended.


katy gilmore said...

Looks so good Vicki! Thanks!

jennyfreckles said...

I've seen this advertised though not read it. It would be about fairly close to home, for me.

Eva Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KarenB said...

Well, there went my afternoon and evening! Thank you for the recommendation - I highly enjoyed it!

Vicki Lane said...

Keep going, Karen--I downloaded OLD FILTH and devoured it in a day. I'm on the second of the trilogy now-THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT. Totally addictive!