Review of Boneland

May 2015


Why five stars for a book which is in turn challenging, worrying, baffling and often disjointed? Perhaps because of the way it made me feel when I put it down- as if I'd been afforded a glimpse of some wonderful, terrible secret, perhaps even the secret to our existence and our demise.

I had no idea what to expect when I began reading Boneland. Its predecessors were the two books that, as a child, made me to decide to become an author. Their effect upon me was instant and shattering. Garener's prose, beautiful and bleak and utter compelling, is evident again here but this- I should warn you- is not a book for children. I'm not certain who its target market is, except readers of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Moon of Gomrath. Regardless, I was astonished to find that Boneland is something entirely unique- I've never read anything quite like it before (even amongst Garner's other works) and I doubt I will again.

It's a fable of consciousness coming apart, of a mystical seamlessness between past and present- and ironically for a book which is often difficult and disjointed, it points to the interconnectedness of things and the constant Mystery (I believe the capital letter is deserved as some think of the inexplicable beyond our sight as a form of deity) present behind and beneath the lives that we think we lead.

In my view, because of the feeling of stupefied wonder it produced (so few books do that to me so strongly), the quiet excitement that it stirred- a little like stargazing, which if you read the book you'll see is not entirely irrelevant- it is fully deserving of five stars. You may well feel differently- but I hope not. This is a strange, unique masterpiece.