June 15th, 2004


Book: Skallagrigg

Author: William Horwood

Details: (c) Steppenmole Enterprises Ltd 1987; Pub 1988 Penguin Books; ISBN 0-14-007206-3

Verdict: Skallagrigg is powerfully written and moving.

Reasons for reading it: I had lent it to lethargic_man and his returning it to me seemed a good occasion to reread it. Especially so since, very unusually for me, I'd managed to travel with insufficient books to keep me going for a long journey. As I'd hoped, I spent most of the overnight coach journey asleep, but there are some bits you just can't sleep through, such as waiting at bus stops for connections. So I started rereading Skallagrigg rather than have to sit around for a whole ten minutes with nothing to read (the horror!).

How it came into my hands: I found it in a charity shop ten years ago or so, when I was on holiday with my parents in some south coast port town; I can't remember exactly which now, maybe Plymouth? And I bought it mainly because HFL had raved about The Stonor Eagles by the same author. (I think I had read at least some of the Duncton Wood series in one of my 'read through the entire children's section of the library systematically' phases, but they are really nothing special and wouldn't have convinced me to rush out and buy Horwood's adult books.)

Then when I left home, it was one of a handful of books that I appropriated even though they technically belong to the family rather than me personally. I don't feel too terrible about this, because I'm much more into it than the rest of the family, and if anyone wants it they know where it is; I can't see myself removing the book out of anyone else's reach.

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I recommend Skallagrigg highly. It's not a perfect book, but it has a lot of elements which are very strong, and it's extremely original, I would say unlike any other book I've read, in either subject matter or structure.
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