The Hollow Land
The barren, beautiful Cumbrian fells provide the bewitching setting for the adventures of Bell and Harry, two children who find enchanting wonder at every turn, as they explore THE HOLLOW LAND. Everyday challenges give a daring edge to this rural work and play. There are ancient mysteries to explore and uncover, like the case of the Egg Witch, and everyone is curious about the Household Name, a wildly famous Londoner moving in to the jewel of the territory, Light Trees Farm. With painterly ease, Jane Gardam’s stories fly with a marvelous spirit that will delight readers of all ages!

The Hollow Land Details

TitleThe Hollow Land
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 6th, 2015
PublisherEuropa Editions
ISBN-139781609452469
Rating
GenreFiction, Short Stories, European Literature, British Literature, Childrens

The Hollow Land Review

  • Diane Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    I loved every word.If you love English novels, you'll love this.If you love Jane Gardam, you'll love this. If you've never read her, this is a great place to start. Europa Books is re-issueing her books, and the cover art is fabulous, as it is on all their novels. One little nitpick, not with the book or author, but with it's classification as a children's book. Either British children are miles ahead of American children in their reading, or their understanding of adult themes is much more matu I loved every word.If you love English novels, you'll love this.If you love Jane Gardam, you'll love this. If you've never read her, this is a great place to start. Europa Books is re-issueing her books, and the cover art is fabulous, as it is on all their novels. One little nitpick, not with the book or author, but with it's classification as a children's book. Either British children are miles ahead of American children in their reading, or their understanding of adult themes is much more mature. Bee Teesdale and Harry Bateman are children at the beginning, but that doesn't qualify it as a kid's book in my mind. Don't pass it by for that reason.
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    Masterful. So masterful and at the same time tightly succinct. These chapters are short stories within themselves, but all related to a place in Yorkshire's fells and the group of families that live there. This is alive with such power of exuberance amidst exact characterization and tone, that I would give it the 6th star. I doubted that I would ever like any Jane Gardam work as much as I liked Old Filth, but this 1981 does it. This was written to approach a child audience of just preteen. Why d Masterful. So masterful and at the same time tightly succinct. These chapters are short stories within themselves, but all related to a place in Yorkshire's fells and the group of families that live there. This is alive with such power of exuberance amidst exact characterization and tone, that I would give it the 6th star. I doubted that I would ever like any Jane Gardam work as much as I liked Old Filth, but this 1981 does it. This was written to approach a child audience of just preteen. Why does it not surprise me that Jane does not underestimate the intelligence or emotional nuance to neighbor and community that exists in kids. There is NO dumb down here.The dialect is poetic. The ending with the eclipse viewed by the Standards, just sublime.Oh what a joyous place- and it's for very reasons like these that I love and find a cottage in the country by the water. There are many terms I needed to investigate here in these conversations, like "beck". That's another thing, Jane Gardam teaches me something with every chapter. Her style is magical and her people just depths. Depths in which kindness or chat chic is never missing.Strongly recommend this read for a summer peaceful place.
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  • Trina
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this short novel set in former mining country (hollowed out with old mines) of North Yorkshire. Folksy and gently humorous, it focuses on two boys, one a local farmer's son and one a London boy, son of a journalist, who visits for the summers. The locals are colorful and well-meaning and the boys' adventures are sometimes dangerous but always turn out ok. They grow up and live their lives in this plain place that Gardam has made magical.
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  • Kirsten
    January 1, 1970
    A magical book about friendship and love of the countryside and country life (in this case, in Cumbria, UK). I just finished and would be happy to start reading it again right now.
  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Jane Gardam is good, but either I read this too fast or the book is just differently paced enough from her other work that I wasn't as in love with it as her other novels. Still, Gardam does a good job writing a novel.
  • Don
    January 1, 1970
    (FROM MY BLOG) Eight-year-old Bell Teesdale watches with wonder when a family of Londoners -- "talking South" -- arrive to rent his parents' farm house.  "There's not owt for 'em here.  What's use of a farm to them?  Just for sitting in.  Never a thing going on."  The visitors get off to a rocky start with their summer landlords -- the older visitors do, that is, but not their 5 or 6-year-old son Harry.  When the Batemans are about to cancel their vacation because they find the sounds of haying (FROM MY BLOG) Eight-year-old Bell Teesdale watches with wonder when a family of Londoners -- "talking South" -- arrive to rent his parents' farm house.  "There's not owt for 'em here.  What's use of a farm to them?  Just for sitting in.  Never a thing going on."  The visitors get off to a rocky start with their summer landlords -- the older visitors do, that is, but not their 5 or 6-year-old son Harry.  When the Batemans are about to cancel their vacation because they find the sounds of haying too noisy, Bell watches the younger boy. I sees this little lad, Harry, looking out of his bedroom window and I catches his eye.  And somehow I know he's all right, this one, London boy or not.  I know he understands how we have to make all this racket to see hay cut ahead of rain. The boys become fast friends, the Batemans end up staying -- and returning year after year -- and the ensuing stories revolve about the boys' friendship and adventures, as they age year by year, into their early teens. Diligent followers of my blog will recall that, in 2012, my niece and I hiked some 70 miles through England's Lake District.  We climbed fells, jumped over becks, walked beside tarns, crossed meadows, and enjoyed the rain.  We talked to other hikers; we exchanged pleasantries with innkeepers.  What we didn't do is talk to the folks who lived in the Lake District and who made their living from pursuits other than tourism.Maybe in the Lake District, everyone makes his living from tourism?  I don't know. But I now know something of how folks live in Westmoreland, the former county (now absorbed into Cumbria) immediately to the east of the Lake District.  After reading a laudatory review in the New York Times book section, I purchased and have just finished reading Jane Gardam's achingly beautiful collection of stories entitled The Hollow Land, published in 1981 in England and now published in America.Most of the stories have the shadow of a plot -- being trapped in a mine (the title refers to how the village and the Teesdales' farmland, rising up into the fells to the east, are built over a honeycomb of abandoned silver mines); visiting a scary old woman who sells eggs (the "Egg-Witch"); listening with a combination of scepticism and fear to local ghost stories, while outside the English rains beat down without mercy; a long bike ride and hike through bitter cold, at Bell's urgent insistence, to behold a wondrous display of icicles, icicles that raise philosophical questions in the youngsters' minds; a run-in with gypsies, who prove scarier by reputation than they are in person.  But these plotlines serve primarily as devices for the author to describe with intensity and in detail the awe-inspiring beauty and the eccentric characters of the inhabitants of this corner of Westmoreland.  She shows, without editorializing, how city dwellers -- including the Batemans, until they become acclimated -- zoom through life in a daze, failing to observe the wonders about them that are so obvious to the shepherds and farmers of the countryside.  Not even professed lovers of nature -- trail hikers -- are exempt from Bell's boyish scorn: They walk in clumps -- great fat orange folk with long red noses and maps in plastic cases flapping across their stomachs.  Transisters going sometimes too, and looking at nowt before them but their own two feet.  I  think back over my own hikes in Britain.  I can only hope I seemed different!But it's not just the beauty of nature that Londoners ignore, and it's not only how the land serves harmoniously to raise crops and graze sheep and cows.  What is equally important to the families who live here -- and whose ancestors have lived here from time immemorial -- is the history they have inherited.  And if the history at times includes questionable horrors and terrifying ghosts -- the combination of history and legend and folk tale is a force that binds them to the soil and to each other.   Mrs. Teesdale and Mrs. Bateman set out for the antique shop about half past two.  It was only a few miles over Stainmore, over the wonderful old road the Greeks and Celts and Romans and Vikings, Angles, Saxons, and the odd Jute had used before them more adventurously.  Ghost upon ghost haunts this road from Greta Bridge, where a spirit got caught under a stone and twice they've had to put her back; to the blue ghost you can see sometimes on bright sunny afternoons near Bowes, the wife of a Saxon lord still wearing her Saxon dress, but without her head; to the white ghost near the old mines who walks quietly in her apron. Londoners may have their transistors and their holidays on Spanish beaches; what they have lost is the richness of a life unself-consciously enmeshed in history and in nature.The final chapter jumps ahead twenty years to 1999, when Bell and Harry have become adults, and when the flow of petroleum has for unstated reasons dried up.  Horses, railroads, and steam engines are again of critical importance.  But the paradise of the Teesdales' world is threatened by a figure who represents all that endangers the family's happiness and their orderly world  -- selfishness, rapacity, and an unthinking hunger for mineral wealth that gladly and willingly sacrifices both history and nature.
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    Jane Gardam is a doyenne of British literature, better known there than in the U.S. Her writing career is now over—she’s in her late eighties—but what a grand career it’s been. Arguably among the best contributions in 20th century English literature is her trilogy Old Filth (Filth means “Failed in London, tried Hong Kong”); it’s a masterpiece on relationships among a group of Brits—and on British culture—during and after WWII. Gardam’s ability to put you into the thoughts and feelings of her cha Jane Gardam is a doyenne of British literature, better known there than in the U.S. Her writing career is now over—she’s in her late eighties—but what a grand career it’s been. Arguably among the best contributions in 20th century English literature is her trilogy Old Filth (Filth means “Failed in London, tried Hong Kong”); it’s a masterpiece on relationships among a group of Brits—and on British culture—during and after WWII. Gardam’s ability to put you into the thoughts and feelings of her characters is her best quality, enhanced by just magnificent writing. OK, enough of the sales pitch!The Hollow Land, a short 1982 novel, won the Whitbread Prize for Children’s Literature, but don’t dare let that turn you off. The main protagonists are two young boys in a rural Cumbrian mining community (mined areas are “hollow land”). Filled with deserted houses as well as beauty, peace, and quiet, their little part of Britain is fast becoming a peaceful summer place for urban folk. The Batemans are the latest of the urban swarm; they arrive to rent one of the local houses, a house called Light Trees. Light Trees is an extra house owned by the Teesdales, who have farmed the remote area since before elves planted gold. Just up the road, at the end of the lane, is another house called Dark Trees.The first meeting of the families is a disaster. Mr. Bateman is a writer who is there for the quiet. The first full day and night are ruined by clanking farm machinery and shouting voices as the Teesdales reap their hay crop—rain is predicted and the crop must be brought in or be ruined. The meeting of the cultures is unpleasant but very British—no “FU”s shouted, no punches thrown. An angry Mr. Bateman decides to take his family back to London forthwith in his search for peace. But during that brief episode of family tumult, eight-year old Bell Teesdale and five-year old Harry Bateman have made contact, sparking a lifelong relationship. The precocious boys develop a plan to forestall disaster—each will find a way to demonstrate to his parents that the other family has apologized. Success! Visits are made, amity is restored. So begins a sweet novel about being young and discovering that although not everyone is like you they can still be likeable. The book is less a novel that a series of vignettes detailing some episode in their joint life of the Batemans and Teesdales. My favorite among many is titled “The Household Word,” in which a famous television interviewer visits with her eleven-year old very sulky daughter. A surprise ending begins a generations-long meshing of the Bateman and the Teesdale families. As the book (regrettably) ends, we are aware that there is a real life for all of us, and its not found in material things—its called “family.” At least in Britain!My advice: Read Jane Gardam! The Hollow Land is a perfect appetizer, Old Filth is the perfect entrée, and dessert is the rest of the Old Filth Trilogy: The Man with the Wooden Hat and Last Friends>, in that order. Five stars!
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  • Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    This is a series of related stories that take place in an isolated area of Westmorland which is, I believe, to the west of Yorkshire. Having been to the dales and fells of Yorkshire, I think that Ms. Gardam well describes the lay of the land. But, in reality, her Westmorland is enchanted. It is glorious with color and flowers and falls of icicles. And the people are enchanted. They seem living in a different time in different ways. They are aware of the different people who have come across thei This is a series of related stories that take place in an isolated area of Westmorland which is, I believe, to the west of Yorkshire. Having been to the dales and fells of Yorkshire, I think that Ms. Gardam well describes the lay of the land. But, in reality, her Westmorland is enchanted. It is glorious with color and flowers and falls of icicles. And the people are enchanted. They seem living in a different time in different ways. They are aware of the different people who have come across their lands --- Celts, Vikings, Saxons, Danes, modern-day gypsies, and renters from London --- and these people are simply part of their world's "diversity" as if one could gossip about them or know them. Additionally, they are also aware of legend and ghosts and the power of elemental forces.I am going on and on, but really I have to make two remarks about the scene. The first is that Ms. Gardam is such a skilled writer that these dales and fells are not romanticized, are not sweet. Rather, they are beautiful, but by no means gentle. Second, the scene is important because it is the backdrop to the relationships of the characters in these stories, to their different voices and individuality. The main relationship is that between Harry, son of the London renters, and Bell, son of an old farming family. These two meet as boys and have the life of boys. They get themselves in bad trouble (e.g., trapped in an old mine, lost in a blizzard), they are honest with each other, they cry in fear, they love and enjoy the wonders of the land. In short, they are particularly good friends who --- they would not say it --- love each other and are bonded to the landscape and its ways. Their growth and their attachment to the land is ultimately the subject of the stories. Their adventures have a suspense and, yes, a poignancy that permeates the stories.Are these Chekhov? Well, no. But they are lovely.
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  • Alice
    January 1, 1970
    Boy can Jane Gardam write! I LOVE her writing. These gentle stories are so beautifully written, although I have to admit I couldn't always follow the dialect spoken by her colorful cast of characters. From the two young boys (Bell and Harry) to brother James, Mrs. Teesdale (who still washes her lino floor), Old Granddad, the gypsies (that's what they're called; sorry), The Household Name (what a wonderful sense of humor Ms. Gardam has to give her a name that indicates she is so well known she do Boy can Jane Gardam write! I LOVE her writing. These gentle stories are so beautifully written, although I have to admit I couldn't always follow the dialect spoken by her colorful cast of characters. From the two young boys (Bell and Harry) to brother James, Mrs. Teesdale (who still washes her lino floor), Old Granddad, the gypsies (that's what they're called; sorry), The Household Name (what a wonderful sense of humor Ms. Gardam has to give her a name that indicates she is so well known she doesn't need a name!), and more, I was drawn in and couldn't put down this slim book of stories until I finished it over two days' time. The two families who grow closer and closer over the years despite their different circumstances and the various recurring characters are portrayed with obvious affection and skill. This is the fifth book I've read by this author, and each has proven to be a winner. She isn't well known in the US, but she should be!
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  • lucy black
    January 1, 1970
    This book is the sweetest thing. It is a collection of short tales that follow the lives of two men Bell and Harry and their beautiful, uncomplicated friendship. Set in Cumbria, the hollow land refers to mined land and the two farms that sit upon it, Bell's working family farm and Harry's family's holiday house, Light Trees. I loved each of these stories and couldn't pick a favorite although I particularly like the ones that mention gypsies and the ones that feature the families coming together. This book is the sweetest thing. It is a collection of short tales that follow the lives of two men Bell and Harry and their beautiful, uncomplicated friendship. Set in Cumbria, the hollow land refers to mined land and the two farms that sit upon it, Bell's working family farm and Harry's family's holiday house, Light Trees. I loved each of these stories and couldn't pick a favorite although I particularly like the ones that mention gypsies and the ones that feature the families coming together. Gardam is master with rhythm and dialogue, I laughed so much over the discussion prior to the celebrity coming to town. It's brilliant the way the children speak so broad and the adults try but fail to stop them. When modern life is too fast and everything is too much I strongly recommend this book (with tea and biscuits), it will make everything better.
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  • Elan Durham
    January 1, 1970
    Can't say just how much I admire Jane Gardam's prose and oeuvre. This collection details a summer spent in the Lake District by a large rambling family, the Batesmans, from London. Its narrative form is nearly mythic the way it describes the countryside and experiences of its characters in the language of Cumbrians. The chapter titles ('The Egg-Witch' for instance) give you an idea of how she approaches the people of Britain: as carriers of mythic traditions communicated through shared language, Can't say just how much I admire Jane Gardam's prose and oeuvre. This collection details a summer spent in the Lake District by a large rambling family, the Batesmans, from London. Its narrative form is nearly mythic the way it describes the countryside and experiences of its characters in the language of Cumbrians. The chapter titles ('The Egg-Witch' for instance) give you an idea of how she approaches the people of Britain: as carriers of mythic traditions communicated through shared language, industries, and ways of living on and with the land that indelibly imprint themselves on your mind and spirit. Impossible to forget, when I finished this brief book, I held it almost the way I would a sacred talisman.
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  • Robin Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    If you haven't yet become a Gardam acolyte -- let me induct you. Gardam is a writing genius at the level of Hillary Mantel or Norman Maclean. Utterly unflinching, always surprising, a voice you know within the first two lines. This is a delightful set of linked stories, with two boys -- farmer Bell and cityboy Harry -- at the center. The characters around them -- the Egg-witch, Kendal the chimney sweep -- are so well drawn. Just spectacular
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  • Carole
    January 1, 1970
    "Wonder"- filled! I loved this book and am so glad I recently discovered Gardam's writing. Loved Old Filth but this book is even better. I only buy books that I feel are worth re-reading or lending. I didn't hesitate to get this and I have a feeling I will be buying more by this author.
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  • Cynthia Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    So charming. I wish it had gone on and on.
  • Michael Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Reminds me a lot of de Bernieres' Nothwithstanding. A London boy, Harry, comes to the Cumbrian fells with his family for a vacation stay in a rented house. They become so charmed with the locals and their lives, they return year after year. Harry becomes close friends and an ally in adventures with the slightly older Bell, the landlord's grandson. There are tales of ghosts and a witch, and the witch's mother shared throughout. One grows to like these country characters very much and often feels Reminds me a lot of de Bernieres' Nothwithstanding. A London boy, Harry, comes to the Cumbrian fells with his family for a vacation stay in a rented house. They become so charmed with the locals and their lives, they return year after year. Harry becomes close friends and an ally in adventures with the slightly older Bell, the landlord's grandson. There are tales of ghosts and a witch, and the witch's mother shared throughout. One grows to like these country characters very much and often feels a sense of intrusion when other city folk such as the Household Name and the distant relative play their parts. Excellent and highly recommended.
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  • janetandjohn
    January 1, 1970
    Hurrah for Jane Gardam - this is a lovely, gentle book with just a few shocks to lift the reader out of their comfort zone. Each chapter is a singular short story, but read all together, they make up the story of a farming family in the Cumbrian fells and their London based tenants who rent a house from them for holidays. Apparently aimed at younger readers, I can only add "anyone under 99".
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  • David Orenstein
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely book, first published in 1981, centered around 2 boys in Cumbria (NW England). Bell is from Cumbria, and Harry is from London, come to this countryside with his family for vacation, and returns year after year. The story focuses on their adventures, the relationships between the Londoners and natives as they grown close over the years. Many colorful characters, pointed with affection. The author is not afraid to laugh at (with, really) some of the quirks of these lovable characters. A won Lovely book, first published in 1981, centered around 2 boys in Cumbria (NW England). Bell is from Cumbria, and Harry is from London, come to this countryside with his family for vacation, and returns year after year. The story focuses on their adventures, the relationships between the Londoners and natives as they grown close over the years. Many colorful characters, pointed with affection. The author is not afraid to laugh at (with, really) some of the quirks of these lovable characters. A wonderful way to get away from your daily hustle and bustle.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    The Hollow Land appears under the heading "For Children" on the list of Jane Gardam's work at the start of the book, but these nine linked stories read perfectly well as grown-up literature, too. The stories are mostly centered around a pair of children (Bell Teesdale, who's eight when the book opens, and who narrates the first story, and Harry Bateman, who's a few years younger), and the stories are partly about childhood experiences, but they're also about landscape/place/culture: the Cumbrian The Hollow Land appears under the heading "For Children" on the list of Jane Gardam's work at the start of the book, but these nine linked stories read perfectly well as grown-up literature, too. The stories are mostly centered around a pair of children (Bell Teesdale, who's eight when the book opens, and who narrates the first story, and Harry Bateman, who's a few years younger), and the stories are partly about childhood experiences, but they're also about landscape/place/culture: the Cumbrian setting of these books feels vivid, even though I've never been there. The first story, "Harry and Bell," introduces the title characters and their families and their circumstances: Bell's dad is a farmer, and his grandfather lives with Bell and his sister and their parents, and one summer they decide to rent out the grandfather's old farmhouse to a family from London, the Batemans. The Batemans almost leave early: they're at the farm during haying time, and there's a particularly noisy night when the Teesdales need to work the field past midnight to get the hay cut before it rains, but Bell and Harry between them help to set things right between the families, and then the Batemans keep on coming back—by the last story in the book they've been renting the old farmhouse, Light Trees, for twenty years, since 1979.This book is often quite funny: there's humor in the circumstances the characters find themselves in, and in how those circumstances are narrated. I loved the start of "Sweep," whose first paragraph I can't resist quoting in its entirety:The chimney sweep, who also kept the fish and chip shop, had said that he would take the big London lads fishing one day and they had said thank you. Smashing. "Oh great," they had said—and forgotten. They weren't prepared then on a dark wet August day for a knock on Light Trees' ancient oak door and the sweep—Kendal was his name—to be standing there sopped through, with floods streaming from his hat and his arms full of rods. (37)Most of these stories are summer stories, but not all of them: the Batemans visit in the winter, too, at least once, and there's a lovely wintry snowy icy story, "The Icicle Ride," which also features this great sentence, about a farmer driving a Land Rover full of sheep: "A wall of yellow-eyed wool looked out over his shoulders" (85). So good. This is the third book I've read by Jane Gardam, and they've all been really pleasing: I look forward to reading more.
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    *3.5 stars“I gets out of my clothes and I rolls into my bed and it’s grand and soft. I wriggle about in the shape of me in the middle of the springs…” (16).“‘...it’s not a place for jollifications’” (33)“It was a day when great curtains of rain swept the fells and away and away stretched dismal wet hills. Every one of the London folk was still in bed with books and breakfast and the radio at nine o’clock. The little lad, Harry, was in bed with a Lego set and a gang of invisible friends” (37).“.. *3.5 stars“I gets out of my clothes and I rolls into my bed and it’s grand and soft. I wriggle about in the shape of me in the middle of the springs…” (16).“‘...it’s not a place for jollifications’” (33)“It was a day when great curtains of rain swept the fells and away and away stretched dismal wet hills. Every one of the London folk was still in bed with books and breakfast and the radio at nine o’clock. The little lad, Harry, was in bed with a Lego set and a gang of invisible friends” (37).“...Mrs. Bateman fussing round in a clutched-up dressing gown…” (38).“Then subdued and squelching feet slowly plodded over stone flags. Hungry Harry and his mother beheld the group standing with pools spreading about their feet, long faces drooping below drooping hats, rods held dipped like flags at a funeral” (41).“She thought of the honeycombs of rocks beneath her feet, and the rocks, hollow like bones, leading to underground rivers and ballrooms and cathedrals below, and shuddered” (63).“The flat plain, like a green, sheep-nibbled psalm of a place in summer…” (84).“...then put his finger round the gingerbread bowl and got a wallop like his brother. The wallop was part of the recipe” (102).“The Light Trees beck that came up pretty and blue for an airing went quite out of its mind. It pounced and foamed and crashed about in a positive brainstorm” (112).“...said Bell, who had grown over the years more like his father than his father had ever been” (132).“He sat on the newly washed stone floor because all the rag rugs were out airing in the yard with the cats and most of the furniture” (135).“They ended this evening and must be recorded at once before I go to sleep, in case the slenderest detail should be lost to the world” (138).
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Published in Britain in 1981, this collection of short stories is considered a children’s book, which only demonstrates Gardam’s respect for children’s intellect. Filled with exacting lanquage and perceptive observations, the stories are told mostly through two boys, Bell Teesdale, the son of a farmer, and the other, Harry Bateman, the son of a London writer. The Batemans rent Bell’s grandfather’s farmhouse every summer from the time Bell is eight years old and Harry, a few years younger. The st Published in Britain in 1981, this collection of short stories is considered a children’s book, which only demonstrates Gardam’s respect for children’s intellect. Filled with exacting lanquage and perceptive observations, the stories are told mostly through two boys, Bell Teesdale, the son of a farmer, and the other, Harry Bateman, the son of a London writer. The Batemans rent Bell’s grandfather’s farmhouse every summer from the time Bell is eight years old and Harry, a few years younger. The stories are filled with the small moments of farm life, the hard work tedious and monotonous for some, but full of wonder for the Londoners. Over the course of nine stories and thirty years, the Londoners learn about life in the Cumbrian countryside, the farmers and their neighbors develop a respect for the Londoners, and friendships emerge. Bell and Harry share adventures that bond them from childhood to adulthood, filled with quests to meet memorable characters such as the Egg-Witch, Granny Crack, and the Household Word and observe hidden icicles and a total eclipse. Both families witness major social and cultural changes and experience the comforts of new technologies over the course of the stories, but their love for “the hollow land” keeps them grounded. “And if we book the call in, we can telephone them. Telephone them to tell them not to worry about anything. Not ever again. For they are safe here for ever in the Hollow Land.”
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    The lilt of the Pennine Fells dialect, the charm of the characters, the sense of history passing through an ancient land, the attraction of a rural life--all these make the reading a real pleasure. Here is a brief sample of the description of 'the icicle ride': "And there, round a corner to the left where the beck fell sheer, stood high as the sky a chandelier of icicles. Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of them down the shale steps of a waterfall. There were long ones and short ones and mid The lilt of the Pennine Fells dialect, the charm of the characters, the sense of history passing through an ancient land, the attraction of a rural life--all these make the reading a real pleasure. Here is a brief sample of the description of 'the icicle ride': "And there, round a corner to the left where the beck fell sheer, stood high as the sky a chandelier of icicles. Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of them down the shale steps of a waterfall. There were long ones and short ones and middling ones and fat ones like arms and thin ones like threads. . . And not only water had turned to spears of glass, but every living thing about---the grasses, the rushes, the spider webs, the tall great fearless thistles. . . And as the sun reached them they all turned at once to every colour ever known---rose and orange and blue and green and lilac---and Harry and Bell watched them until the sun slipped down a little and left them icicles again. . . Just like a spell. Like 'The Snow Queen'." Jane Gardam's writing never disappoints.
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  • Catherine Mustread
    January 1, 1970
    With seven books by Jane Gardam on my TBR list, I managed to select one not on my list to check out at the library recently.  As a fan of Gardam after really enjoying her Old Filth series, I am slowly working on adding her to my "completist" file. The Hollow Land is about two families, the Teesdales are long time rural folk and the Batemans are London residents who rent an old farm house from the Teesdales as a summer residence.  Though the first year is rocky, the families become ever closer ov With seven books by Jane Gardam on my TBR list, I managed to select one not on my list to check out at the library recently.  As a fan of Gardam after really enjoying her Old Filth series, I am slowly working on adding her to my "completist" file. The Hollow Land is about two families, the Teesdales are long time rural folk and the Batemans are London residents who rent an old farm house from the Teesdales as a summer residence.  Though the first year is rocky, the families become ever closer over the following 20+ years as the times change.  Each chapter could stand alone as a short story, primarily being focused on the youngest boys in each family who become fast friends.  Great setting and talented character development with a dollop of understated humor, makes this a great read.Winner of the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for Children's Novel in 1981.
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  • Rita
    January 1, 1970
    1981.Collection of stories about the same characters, set in remote, high part of Yorkshire Moors, or thereabouts.SPlendid stories, character-wise [both kids and adults and local eccentrics convincingly portrayed], landscape and lifestyle-wise, passing-on-legends wise, plot-wise.Main 'youths' seem to be around 11 years old, perhaps the age group she was aiming at.Gardam wrote kids books before writing novels for adults. Am wondering whether this was good training for the succinct style she write 1981.Collection of stories about the same characters, set in remote, high part of Yorkshire Moors, or thereabouts.SPlendid stories, character-wise [both kids and adults and local eccentrics convincingly portrayed], landscape and lifestyle-wise, passing-on-legends wise, plot-wise.Main 'youths' seem to be around 11 years old, perhaps the age group she was aiming at.Gardam wrote kids books before writing novels for adults. Am wondering whether this was good training for the succinct style she writes her adult novels in -- packs a lot into a few words.Although presumably set in the present [1981], it feels like describing a long-ago time and place. I'm sure she is partly wanting to pass down local legends and ways of life of old times. Fascinating. There's magic here, sometimes literally.SHe incorporates, without 'losing' the reader, just enough local dialect and expressions. Great fun.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Delightful novel about the friendship of two boys in the English countryside. One is the son of a farmer and the other is the son of a London resident who rents a home over the holidays. The book is a series of interrelated short stories, where the boys age a little bit from one chapter to the next. They occasionally get themselves into real trouble as they become more independent. Maybe this is a children's book? (As a mother of a young boy, a lot of their behavior resonated with me.)But the bo Delightful novel about the friendship of two boys in the English countryside. One is the son of a farmer and the other is the son of a London resident who rents a home over the holidays. The book is a series of interrelated short stories, where the boys age a little bit from one chapter to the next. They occasionally get themselves into real trouble as they become more independent. Maybe this is a children's book? (As a mother of a young boy, a lot of their behavior resonated with me.)But the book is also about a changing way of life in rural England and misunderstandings between rural and urban people, who are now living in proximity to each other. In the first chapter, the young boys find a way to move their families past a misunderstanding. Gardam writes about these clashes with humor and affection for all of her characters. She is warmly descriptive of human nature.
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  • Wyatt
    January 1, 1970
    Gardam has a real knack for descriptions of rural landscape. My favorite stories are "The Hollow Land" and "The Icicle Ride" though the stories are all linked and work best read in order. It's not obvious from the cover but this is classified in the list of Gardam's works as a children's book. About halfway through the book I was enjoying it so much that I began reading it from the beginning with my 9-year-old daughter. It's a wonderful book to read aloud. This is not a conservative or nostalgic Gardam has a real knack for descriptions of rural landscape. My favorite stories are "The Hollow Land" and "The Icicle Ride" though the stories are all linked and work best read in order. It's not obvious from the cover but this is classified in the list of Gardam's works as a children's book. About halfway through the book I was enjoying it so much that I began reading it from the beginning with my 9-year-old daughter. It's a wonderful book to read aloud. This is not a conservative or nostalgic work about preserving some idealized version of country Englishness. While it fits within the literary tradition of works about the English countryside, this collection of linked stories is primarily about the acceptance of change and difference.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    What a gem of stories, all tied together by a a community of characters in a country town situated atop the Hollow Land (so called because of the abandoned mines snaking below the landscape). It is here that the Bateman family comes to escape life in the city of London when they take up renting a farmhouse owned by the local Teesdale family. The younger boys of the families, Harry and Bell, become friends and it is the stories of their adventures over many years, highlighted by the landscape as What a gem of stories, all tied together by a a community of characters in a country town situated atop the Hollow Land (so called because of the abandoned mines snaking below the landscape). It is here that the Bateman family comes to escape life in the city of London when they take up renting a farmhouse owned by the local Teesdale family. The younger boys of the families, Harry and Bell, become friends and it is the stories of their adventures over many years, highlighted by the landscape as well as the cast of characters in the town, which are collected here. This writing is practically perfect, no wasted or throw away words, everything with a purpose and a place. It is utterly charming and comforting.
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  • Helen Baldwin
    January 1, 1970
    I am already a fan of Jane Gardam's, she's one of my favorite writers, so reading The Hollow Land confirmed the fact. This book is a bunch of linked stories about two boys growing up in Britain's Cumbrian countryside. One of the boys is a full-time resident and from a farming family, the other's family rents a house and is from London. The two families represent two cultures and misunderstandings do occur, but turn out to be wonderful, humorous experiences. The hills and the dales and overall be I am already a fan of Jane Gardam's, she's one of my favorite writers, so reading The Hollow Land confirmed the fact. This book is a bunch of linked stories about two boys growing up in Britain's Cumbrian countryside. One of the boys is a full-time resident and from a farming family, the other's family rents a house and is from London. The two families represent two cultures and misunderstandings do occur, but turn out to be wonderful, humorous experiences. The hills and the dales and overall beauty of the place are as much a part of the story as how people live. Each story is a gem, it's a great book one of Jane Gardam's earlier books which I am so happy made it's way to the United States.
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  • William
    January 1, 1970
    Supposedly "young adult fiction," so maybe I am having a second childhood, since I enjoyed this set of nine linked stories enormously. Nothing deep or complicated here, but a lot of good, honest feeling and a lovely dose of wry humor. The stories, actually, would make a nice BBC series.There is, of course, no symbolism, and not a whole lot of character development. But the characters are deftly etched and gosh, it's fun to read good writing presenting good stories. This was a wonderfully pleasan Supposedly "young adult fiction," so maybe I am having a second childhood, since I enjoyed this set of nine linked stories enormously. Nothing deep or complicated here, but a lot of good, honest feeling and a lovely dose of wry humor. The stories, actually, would make a nice BBC series.There is, of course, no symbolism, and not a whole lot of character development. But the characters are deftly etched and gosh, it's fun to read good writing presenting good stories. This was a wonderfully pleasant way to spend two days' reading. (I also had the fun of getting the original 1981 edition from a public library on the Canadian border here in Maine).
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  • Clare
    January 1, 1970
    Gardham is a beautiful writer who can use dialect to enhance place and character like no other. This is a short read that takes you into the lives of two families--native country folk and Londoners whI lease their farm for summers and Christmas holidays. You explore the countryside with them and meet an array of quirky, wonderful characters over the course of twenty five years. I hated to see it end.
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  • Tress Huntley
    January 1, 1970
    I never would have found this book or author if not for book club. It turns out Jane Gardam is a lovely writer. This was originally published in the early 1980s, so I tried to read it through that prism of perspective. Just a very charming and colorful little book that made me feel good. Gardam has also been quite a prolific writer, so I'll definitely look into some of her other works. There are lots of them.
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