Book report #22 (2019)

I Heard the Owl Call My Name, by Margaret Craven. Pub 1967

I had resolved not to purchase any new books in 2019 – a kind of book-buying fast. As my home is seemingly overflowing with books, many unread, I wanted to try to get through the year reading what I had. Alas, on a visit to London in May, my friend took me to legendary Daunt Books in Marylebone – a Mecca for a book-lover like me. I couldn’t not buy anything after such a pilgrimage. And so I purchased this book on the recommendation of my friend. Odd to travel halfway around the world to buy a book about the part of world I live in, but it is a travellers’ bookshop.

This short little novel was a lovely treat to read on a cozy relaxing vacation. While not a happy story, it is still uplifting, with such lyrical descriptions of the wild West Coast, you can almost feel the damp, hear the dripping water, smell the wet ferns and firs.

The story takes a while to connect with the reader, but once in, you’re hooked till the end. I was brought to tears more than once, by the compassion of the people, the tragedies of their lives – both their own doing and done to them – and the last gasps of a time and place that is no more.

I’m a bit surprised that this book is not required reading in school (perhaps it is). It does not flinch from the wrongs and losses on so many sides, but nor does it ascribe any blame, simply showing the double-sided coin of progress, with its gains and losses not fully understood until it’s too late. Perhaps that’s why.

6 – an author’s debut novel

7 – a book by a female author

8 – a book that was or will be a film

10 – a book referred by a friend (Siobhan)

11 – a book set where you live (Vancouver, at least in part)

18 – a book you can read in one day

24 – a book by an author I’ve never read.

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