The Earth Hums in B Flat; Book Friends:Musing Mondays


This last two weeks, while I have been ill, I have indulged in a bit of a reading fest. Because my head was stuffed and my lungs cranky I kept to lighter books such as fantasy and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy – I will be reviewing them in the following weeks.

I also had to read a book for one of the book groups I belong to. It was to be a re-read, I had recommended it to the others (hope they liked it) I knew I had really enjoyed it the first time years ago. So I settled down to do so again.

The Earth Hums in B Flat

 Every night, 12-year-old Gwenni Morgan flies in her sleep. She leaves the bed she shares with her sister and soars into the night sky, listening to the nighttime sounds of her small Welsh village below. Irrepressible Gwenni — a dreamer full of unanswerable questions and unbounded curiosity — is childlike yet touchingly adult. Reluctantly facing a modern world, she prefers her nightly flights to school and her chores. Blessed with the uncommon insight of a young girl, Gwenni’s view of the world is unparalleled.

Quaint, odd, touched, funny in the head: Gwenni is all too familiar with the taunts of her peers and fields them with equanimity beyond her years. She knows she can no more change her nature than stop the sun from rising.

When a neighborhood family is rocked by the sudden, unexplainable disappearance of their patriarch, Gwenni believes that her unknown talents will allow her to discover the truth. But distinguishing fact from fiction carries more difficulties than she first predicted, and her quest for answers will soon lead her closer to home than she ever imagined. (Goodreads blurb)

 Well what a treat I had I had forgotten just what a delight young Gwenni Morgan was.

The Earth Hums in B Flat is by Mari Strachan and was her debut novel and what a debut.

Enough to make anyone give up:)

There are some titles I personally cannot resist – how could resist this one.

I have run out of delicious words to describe, what on the face of it is, an ordinary enough tale. Narrated through the eyes and heart of Gwenni Morgan, 12 years old, brimful of curiosity beyond sense, imagination richer than her peers, and  of a tenacious breed of impressibility.

The tale is a dark one filled with domestic abuse, mental disorders, and illegitimacy. Of family secrets best left secret. Yet Mari Strachan has delivered not just a heart breaking novel but a tremendously uplifting book.

Gwenni innocently sets out to emulate her favourite literary detectives in solving a mystery. Against everyone’s advice and orders. She is not deterred

She knows something is wrong, Gwennie can fly in her sleep and she has seen something wrong:) Now whether or not this is her imagination or she really can fly is left to the reader to decide. Through this child, Mari Strachan has managed to imbue this closet full of darkness with a freshness which, without diminishing these dark deeds, offers an intense and improbably, an enjoyable read.

Gwenni inhabits a small closed North Welsh community in the 1950s,a chapel driven world tiptoeing, as are the children, toward a scary modernity and growth. A community full of treacherous undercurrents best , in most folks opinion, left alone.

She is also beset with the usual troubles of childhood, of friends betrayal, her own body’s betrayal and the fear of growing older. Gwenni’s first mystery is solved, not by her, but then she is in full cry after injustice and fairness, still ignoring advice to leave well enough alone and with events spiralling out of control, family secrets and modernity begin to unravel all that is familiar to her.

Mari has captured brilliantly the mind of this child of too much imagination and too much reading – can their ever be too much?:) She has peopled her book with some wonderful characters and her eye for detail and description all come together in a fabulous read. Better maybe if possible the second time around.

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Have you ever made a new friend because of a book? (or books)?
My immediate thought was no – however, immediate thoughts at my age, of uncertain memories and telescoping of time, are often wrong:) Through life my friends have seldom shared enthusiasms for the same kind of books as myself, all we had in common was that we read, they were friends first.

But. . . but. . . but –  a few years ago now, after a loss of books, I did join a book group to try and solve my problem and amongst the members were two others whom I became friendly with. I had forgotten because I joined the U3A on their recommendation  almost immediately  after meeting them, To my memory they are U3A friends.

I have been a member of the U3A ever since. Through the U3A they have become part of the Living History and Writing groups that I run. So with the Reading Group still going after 15 years and the other two groups which I run (10 years and 9 years respectively) we meet up three times a month and on other occasions such as lunches; over the years we have become good friends.

They are friends with differing tastes than myself – but in fact we enjoy more of the same than any other friends I have.
So yes it was initially books that introduced us.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 + a random question of the week

Happy reading everyone:)


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