A little odd, a lot of wonderful.
Halfway up the great stone staircase which rises from the dim and vaulting hall of Auchnasaugh, there is a tall stained-glass window. #Firstlinefridays
To be able to write like Elspeth Barker-wow. A gothic, Scottish tale, starting with the murder of a teenage girl.
Quirky, sort of funny, sort of dark novel about a girl living in a castle in 1950s Scotland. Janet, 16, has just been murdered but this isn‘t a whodunnit as much as a who was she, this Janet? Turns out she was moody, aloof, sensitive, bookish, sometimes cruel and sometimes selfless. https://cannonballread.com/2022/10/o-caledonia-a-novel-elcicco/
While this is a coming of age story about a young girl I couldn‘t help but feel that Janet would have been my soul friend as she doesn‘t fit in with the norm, but is instead a romantic dreamer, poetry and language lover especially Latin & Greek and familiar with mythology, a lover of animals and nature, is moved emotionally by her surroundings and sorely misunderstood. Exquisite writing in this modern gothic novella. Loved it!
What a treat! I didn‘t realise at first that this book is actually from the early 90s. Loved it!!!
"People in these parts did not use the word 'spring'. They said 'the end of winter's or 'the beginning of summer' or they used the month's name"
She's talking about Scotland but she could easily be describing the Canadian Maritimes where it's April and definitely NOT spring.
Trying to squeeze in one more book before month's end. Sun is shining but a chilly wind's a-blowing.
Some #bookmail arrived. A scandalous memoir from the 90s and "the best least-known novel of the 20th century."
How can a book that begins with a murdered teenage girl be so delightful? When it is about the short life of the marvelously endearing misfit, Janet. Janet grows up in a decaying castle on the northern coast of Scotland following WWII. She is often unable to engage with people, but feels deeply and passionately about the natural and ancient worlds. Wonderful prose, wonderful character, and just a pleasure to read. 5⭐️
Based on the Litsy reviews it sounds like Janet has a #sweetdisposition - though not because she's nice to everyone. When I hear that a character loves animals, rightfully distrusts many people, and has a unique sense of humor, this sounds like someone I'd like to meet.
#MayMovieMadness @rohit-sawant @Cinfhen
Janet might be my all time favorite #heroine 🙌🏻 one of the few books where I underlined something on almost every page.
Janet is born into a dark & dreary #cruelworld where she is unwelcome and for the most part, ignored. She finds comfort and a sense of humor in the form of nature and animals, but has a distaste for most humans...I highly recommend this beautifully written gothic tale 🖤
A #blameitonlitsy purchase! Thanks to those of you who posted and put this on my radar!
Love this description ❄️
I love a character that makes me laugh. That's why Gus, Janet, and Ove are three of my #newfavoritecharacters
This book is quickly moving up on my list of favorites ❤️
#FirstNovel of December is 🙌🏻 The first book in a while that has prompted me to underline something on almost every page.
Congrats to you, @Booksandcooks for 7777 followers!
I had to check Goodreads to see what the last book was that I actually awarded 5⭐️ and this was it. The excerpt above gives you a little taste of its delightful oddness (and this is page one, so "no spoilers" ?).
Thanks for the #7777Giveaway!
I started this last night and within the first few pages I was already chortling in delight at the author's brilliant humour and evocative writing. I'm in LOVE.
Thanks to @shawnmooney and @Lindy for bringing this gem to my attention (and to the rest of you, too ... @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @TrishB ).
I'm sure you all – you certainly should – follow @ReadingEnvy already; if not, here is a link to the latest episode of her wonderful podcast. I am the guest! At the beginning, we talk about bailing on books – do you think I know anything about that topic? :-) Enjoy!
I had to bail out of the Jim Jones book after 50 pages. It was engaging but Jones and his mamma annoyed me. Thanks to you Littens, I picked this up from the library earlier this week. Should be a short read. #currentlyreading #dogsoflitsy #dottie
There are far, far better reviews than mine in a previous buddy read of this book that convinced me to read it @shawnmooney @Lindy @DeborahSmall @saresmoore
A lovely, haunting, entertaining and funny novel. Janet is the awkward MC that you couldn't help rooting for.
A wonderful, little gem of a novel, with poetic prose.
I finished O Caledonia this morning, and was moved to create this photo. It's a composite of a blood super-moon I photographed, a bird and tree I snapped in Yellowstone National Park, and a piece of fabric from one of my dresses. I hope this will serve as my review. This book has ruined all other fiction for me for a while, and my next read will be a running book.
@shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore @DeborahSmall
The library is 1.3 km from my house and I travel on foot, so my #bookbag has wheels. I'm getting geared up now for my weekly visit. 😀
O #BookMail! Look what has arrived, @shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore @DeborahSmall 😀
A mean whipping wind whined and skirmished about the castle, now this way, now that, slamming doors, tearing at hats and scarves, whisking the dogs' ears inside out. The cats refused to go outside at all. Only the wild duck enjoyed themselves, swimming ostentatiously across the lawn or sporting upside down in the lagoons of the drive.
@DuckOfDoom @shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @LeahBergen
I LOVED this book! Barker somehow managed to simultaneously wrap me up in the comfort of her gorgeous, intentional prose and make me itchy with uncertainty as the story unfolded. I knew what was going to happen because she told me in the very beginning, but it only made me more wary as I steadily fell in love with the protagonist, Janet. Quirky, witty, engrossing, and unbelievably well-written, I won't soon forget this work of literary brilliance.
The salon reminded Janet of the lunatic asylum. People came in, looking normal and cheerful. They were ushered by white-coated, unctuous attendants into a neon-lit inner torture chamber of throbbing machines. There they sat, gowned and scarlet-faced and in no time at all they had lost their identity...
At St Uncumba's Halloween was not celebrated, for it was an evil, pagan ritual. Instead they lit an enormous bonfire on Guy Fawkes night and burned a human effigy.
In sentences bursting with images and perfectly audacious words; in paragraphs that unfurl book-length narratives; with quirky characters deeply familiar as if spun from dreams; Elspeth Barker tells a simple, sad, joyous story of Janet, an odd duck of a Scottish girl, understood by no one, a misfit who only feels truly alive in spasms of communion with books or the natural world. My delight in her was just this side of a cringe. Unforgettable.
Art: Reader in Purple Sweater, by Rick Beerhorst
Art: Joan Eardley‘s 1962 masterwork Flood Tide
This might end up being my favorite sentence in the entire novel...
Art by John Cannon: http://www.johncannonart.com/2012/07/getting-ready-for-tomato-art-festival/
A beautifully written coming of age story set in the north of Scotland. Very gothic, I started this book thinking it would be some kind of murder mystery, although it starts and ends with a murder, it's really about the life of Janet from an early age until her death at 16. Janet is a wonderful misunderstood young girl, as well as her story I found animals and the countryside to play a big part in this novel 👇🏻
Once a day was the decree, and once a day they could gain admission to its mysteries. Then they could watch the baby being fed, or bathed, or even hold her. Janet found this boring; it was the sacred atmosphere of the room itself which she enjoyed.
@shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @KellyMuser
'Don't talk such nonsense; you know as well as I do that witches are only in fairy stories; and you read far too many of those, if you'd like my opinion.' The mothers exchanged satisfied glances: they all thought Vera went too far in her choice of children's reading; and she smoked cigarettes and wore slacks.