Ormeshadow
Acclaimed author Priya Sharma transports readers back in time with Ormeshadow, a coming-of-age story as dark and rich as good soil.Burning with resentment and intrigue, this fantastical family drama invites readers to dig up the secrets of the Belman family, and wonder whether myths and legends are real enough to answer for a history of sin.Uprooted from Bath by his father's failures, Gideon Belman finds himself stranded on Ormeshadow farm, an ancient place of chalk and ash and shadow. The land crests the Orme, a buried, sleeping dragon that dreams resentment, jealousy, estrangement, death. Or so the folklore says. Growing up in a house that hates him, Gideon finds his only comforts in the land. Gideon will live or die by the Orme, as all his family has.

Ormeshadow Details

TitleOrmeshadow
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 15th, 2019
PublisherTor.com
ISBN-139781250241443
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Novella, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy, Dragons

Ormeshadow Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    WAAAAAAAAAAANT THIS.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    HELLO, THIS BOOK WAS GORGEOUS AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND DARK AND ACHY AND IT WAS NOT FOR ME. This book is for people who liked Wuthering Heights--who love books about horrible people brooding on moors and everything being awful. But in a beautiful way. I love dark and achy, but bleak isn't my thing, and Ormeshadow has bleak down to an art. The prose is absolutely gorgeous, graceful and flowing from one chapter--vignette?--to the next with a lyrical darkness I've rarely experienced outside of books writt HELLO, THIS BOOK WAS GORGEOUS AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND DARK AND ACHY AND IT WAS NOT FOR ME. This book is for people who liked Wuthering Heights--who love books about horrible people brooding on moors and everything being awful. But in a beautiful way. I love dark and achy, but bleak isn't my thing, and Ormeshadow has bleak down to an art. The prose is absolutely gorgeous, graceful and flowing from one chapter--vignette?--to the next with a lyrical darkness I've rarely experienced outside of books written in the 1800s. The slow, delicious reveal of characters and their true natures, the peeling back of layers until you see the rot beneath the floorboards is so well done. The mist and atmosphere, the haunting legacy of this family, their village, and their drama absolutely permeate the soul, and this book eats at the mind to make you think about these characters and why they are the way they are. It's small and dark and unhappy, atmospheric and aching, and though family drama isn't my thing and the Wuthering Heights vibe was real, I...didn't hate this book? I really didn't. Which is shocking, to be honest.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    Read my fall 2019 interview with the author @ More2Read.com, On her Fabulous Beasts, Ormeshadow, and writing. With mention of gallows and dragons you feel the age in this tale, with the transportation to a village in ormeshadow England, Ormesleep farm, from townhouses of Bath,in days of old, a family of three, with a young boy with aspirations, wonderment, enchantment and mystery, the searchings in a place where peace and solace may or may not be found.Complexities of new terra Read my fall 2019 interview with the author @ More2Read.com, On her Fabulous Beasts, Ormeshadow, and writing. With mention of gallows and dragons you feel the age in this tale, with the transportation to a village in ormeshadow England, Ormesleep farm, from townhouses of Bath,in days of old, a family of three, with a young boy with aspirations, wonderment, enchantment and mystery, the searchings in a place where peace and solace may or may not be found.Complexities of new terrain with new behaviors, futures and past boiling in a pot with trouble possibly rising, and one hope, a dragon to whisk the young Gideon away.Gideon a likable character with a big heart, one empathy carefully crafted for by the capable writing of Priya Sharma and this realm of Orme with tragedy in the village Ormeshadow momentum shifting and terrible truths emerging.Withholding the right amount of information keeping reader intrigued and then enchanted with mystery, the mythical, and the expectations of what will become of Gideon in this vibrant retelling of a coming of age tale.This novella a best of books for 2019.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A short but powerful tale of the dark emotional lives of a family, Ormeshadow is an exceptional novella with the promise of magic just around the corner.I had no idea what to expect when I started Ormeshadow , but I have to say this was a surprise of the best kind. Priya Sharma has written a dark and dangerous family drama with just a touch of fantasy. Threview.The I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A short but powerful tale of the dark emotional lives of a family, Ormeshadow is an exceptional novella with the promise of magic just around the corner.I had no idea what to expect when I started Ormeshadow , but I have to say this was a surprise of the best kind. Priya Sharma has written a dark and dangerous family drama with just a touch of fantasy. The story is set in an unidentified time period (think Wuthering Heights ) that feels like the early 1800s, perhaps, and takes place in a small English village called Ormeshadow.Young Gideon Belman and his family have left their comfortable life in Bath and are headed to Ormesleep Farm to live with Gideon’s uncle Thomas and his family. Gideon isn’t told the reason for the move, but it has something to do with his father’s job at the university. John Belman is eager to help Thomas on his sheep farm, but Gideon and his mother Clare are bitter about having to leave their home to live with strangers. When they arrive, they are greeted warmly by Thomas’ wife Maud, but Thomas turns out to be a hard and unfriendly man whose violent nature seethes just below the surface.Gideon and his parents slowly adapt to the harsh farm life, and Gideon’s only joyful moments are the times when his father takes him out to the Orme, the large outcropping of rocks that overlooks the bay, and tells him stories about the sleeping dragon who lives in the earth. According to John, the Orme is actually a dragon who, hundreds of years ago, flew down into the waters of the bay to cool off and fell asleep. She turned to rock, and trees and brush grew around her. John tells Gideon that it’s their responsibility to watch over the Orme until she awakens. Gideon doesn’t necessarily believe the stories, but he loves spending time with his father, away from the grim realities of the farm.But one day, tragedy strikes, and Gideon’s life will never be the same again. His only hope for happiness is to search for the truth in his father's stories, and to discover once and for all if the Orme is real.If you are intrigued by stories that excel in character development and “slice of life” vignettes, then you’ll love Ormeshadow . The format is a bit unusual. It’s divided up into short, titled chapters that are almost individual stories themselves, yet each is seamlessly woven together to form a whole. Sharma focuses on big and small moments that happen on the farm between family members, and even though some of these moments seemed insignificant at the time, I found each to be profoundly important by the end of the book.Sharma’s tale is a claustrophobic one, full of darkness punctuated only by candlelight at night and a cold sun during the day. Ormeshadow sits near the cliffs, and harsh winds, muddy fields and uneven, rocky ground lie in wait to make the characters’ lives miserable. Even worse is the anger and jealousy that simmers between the characters, ready to explode at any moment. These emotions were palpable, and I loved reading a story where the thing that made me keep turning pages wasn’t exciting action, but the terror of seeing just what these characters were capable of. There’s an unsettling feeling of isolation and being trapped, and I felt for Gideon and his mother, who have no way out of their situation.As for the characters, I loved the relationship between John and Gideon the most. John hasn’t been dealt the best hand in life, but he loves his family and he’ll do anything to make the best of a bad situation. He’s a born storyteller, and I adored the moments where he weaves his magical tales, passing down stories that his father told him. But his kindness is almost negated by his brother Thomas, a horrible man who demands obedience from both his farm dogs and his family. He encourages fist fighting between his own sons and Gideon, and all the boys end up bloody at one time or another. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kill a character more than I wanted to kill Thomas! The fantasy element I mentioned is subtle, and honestly, I’m still not sure I understand what happened at the end of the story. But Sharma’s gorgeous writing seduced me and made me desperate to believe that the implied magic was real. In any case, I loved the way everything comes full circle at the end—and when you read Ormeshadow you’ll understand what I mean. This is a powerful story told by a master storyteller, and I cannot wait to see what Priya Sharma writes next.Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. Trigger warning for animal violence. This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy
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  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    Oh nooo.I thought we were past this, as a literary nation. I thought that we had (mostly) put the old sexist tropes to bed and moved on to better things. Apparently not.Ormeshadow is about a nice and long-suffering boy who must put up with his mother, who is a slut who enjoys sex and wears pretty dresses even though she knows it attracts the attention of other men.Yes, really. That’s the plot of this garbage book.I read a lot of books. Some are good, some are bad. I’m/> Oh nooo.I thought we were past this, as a literary nation. I thought that we had (mostly) put the old sexist tropes to bed and moved on to better things. Apparently not.Ormeshadow is about a nice and long-suffering boy who must put up with his mother, who is a slut who enjoys sex and wears pretty dresses even though she knows it attracts the attention of other men.Yes, really. That’s the plot of this garbage book.I read a lot of books. Some are good, some are bad. I’m not usually offended by the bad books, though. Bad writing happens. But Ormeshadow offended the hell out of me, because this book is full of sexist and harmful tropes. This is an unpleasant and dangerous book. Fuck that shit.
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  • Ross Jeffery
    January 1, 1970
    Well, here at STORGY we’ve been following the career of Priya Sharma with great attention and her collection All The Fabulous Beasts was a highlight of our recent reading – which let us just add went on to win the Shirley Jackson Award for singled-authored collection in 2018. So, when we heard that she’d upped the ante and gone and written a novella, we had to get ourselves a copy to review for you fine folks here.Ormeshadow is quite different from All The Fabulous Beasts, and I ment Well, here at STORGY we’ve been following the career of Priya Sharma with great attention and her collection All The Fabulous Beasts was a highlight of our recent reading – which let us just add went on to win the Shirley Jackson Award for singled-authored collection in 2018. So, when we heard that she’d upped the ante and gone and written a novella, we had to get ourselves a copy to review for you fine folks here.Ormeshadow is quite different from All The Fabulous Beasts, and I mention this because it is different in the best of ways, Sharma appears to flourish with the shackles off and writing free from what is required from a genre book per se. Unshackling her creative juices seems to have had a freeing quality, enabling Sharma to concoct a broiling coming of age tale which loosely but integrally incorporates the myths and legends of dragons – but with a masters touch she subtly lays the lore into the foundations of Ormeshadow which create a beast of a book.So, if you’re a fan of all things dark and mysterious please take note, this is a writer who is doing something a little different, incorporating a dark undertow to the story which is as deadly as anything that lurks in the dark; and boy does she hit the nail on the head, so much so, that she actually drives that nail and the hammer through the wood until she leaves a splintered wreckage on the floor.Ormeshadow follows the life of Gideon Belman, a boy who finds himself uprooted from his life in Bath and relocated to Ormeshadow Farm with his mother and father – to join his uncle and auntie and their dysfunctional and overbearing family unit. Gideon doesn’t know what’s happened or why they’ve had to flee, and his learned father keeps hidden the secrets of their escape by regaling his son of the legend of the Orme – of a buried dragon that lays beneath the Orme, encased rock and moss, sleeping or waiting for its time to rise. The dragon waits and dreams of resentment, of revenge and of death. Gideon finds himself in a strange place, a place he doesn’t quite fit, growing up in a house that hates him. So, Gideon finds his comforts and a way to survive, in the Orme and the folklore that enraptures his very heart.‘There were butterflies skewered in cases, beautiful things the size of a man’s hand, their iridescent wings marked with blind eyes for protection. Gideon had wanted to know why they were so dangerous that, even in death, they had to be contained. His father had laughed.’Sharma’s prose in Ormeshadow is deep and rich, and at times, all consuming. It’s as if Sharma has created a storm on the page, contained it with words, sentences and paragraphs – you want to pull yourself away but it’s intoxicatingly, you are at her mercy and she doesn’t relent. Her prose is so strong and enrapturing that it’s like being tossed by an angry sea; it will consume you, bury you in a world that there is no escape from – detailing expertly of a time, place and lives that are so delicately examined and nurtured that it is beguiling. Sharma’s writing in Ormeshadow is so precious that you can’t look away for fear of missing the majesty of her work.‘The fishermen were accustomed to death, it being one of their many bounties from the sea. Death was even in their swollen jumpers, each knitted to their own designs so their widows could identify their remains after a pounding by the waves.’What makes this book so brilliant is Sharma’s characterisations, every person in this story serves a purpose, there is no room for driftwood. Each character, no matter how small their part, adds to the broiling drama that unfolds on the page, pulling the reader in, forcing us to discover, and dredge up the secrets of the Belman family. Secrets that Sharma delicately weaves throughout Ormeshadow – as if she were a seamstress working on a precious garment, each thread meticulously planned and executed, to give the story beats when it needs them and to stay silent when their is need for reflection, making it the most enchanting of reads. But as we all know… some secrets should remain secrets.‘He seemed at great pains to be still, but his eyes were churning pools. Gideon expected him to spring up at any second.’Sharma has created what I can only imagine will be one of the books of the year, it’s a tale that delves into folklore but is grounded in drama, of family circumstance, of loss and love and hope. It is in essence a coming of age tale, masterfully told with a beguiling style and execution that is is priceless. It will bring Sharma to a whole new audience, whilst still enrapturing her existing followers – but Ormeshadow in my opinion showcases a writer at their very best, and I firmly believe that it is Sharma’s magnum opus.An enchanting magic lives in the pages of Ormeshadow and I urge you to discover this treasure of a book for yourselves – a resonant novella that is unforgettably brilliant and deeply moving.
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  • unknown
    January 1, 1970
    What a lovely, sad, wonderful book.
  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    Happy book birthday to this lovely little dark novella!I had to do a little digging around for clarification about whether this was or was not a debut, and long and the short of it is, this is Priya Sharma's debut standalone novella, although it's certainly not her first book (her collection of short stories, All the Fabulous Beasts has received wide acclaim, as well as individual short pieces collected here and there by Ellen Datlow and others). To put it simply, Sharma's is a name you might have Happy book birthday to this lovely little dark novella!I had to do a little digging around for clarification about whether this was or was not a debut, and long and the short of it is, this is Priya Sharma's debut standalone novella, although it's certainly not her first book (her collection of short stories, All the Fabulous Beasts has received wide acclaim, as well as individual short pieces collected here and there by Ellen Datlow and others). To put it simply, Sharma's is a name you might have heard rather frequently in the science fiction and fantasy community, and this standalone may indicate that a beloved short story author is now moving into longer works. I think we can expect to see Sharma's name continue to rise in recognition and awareness from here on out, because Ormeshadow is quite the book!Short but potent, this novella tracks the coming of age of Gideon, a city boy from Bath in the time of carriages and marriage scandals who relocates with his parents to the coastal farm on which his father grew up and his uncle's family still resides. After a brief idyllic spell in which Gideon and his father bond over wanderings through the local countryside and stories of fallen dragons, things go sideways, and quickly. Gideon's mother, a self-absorbed beauty, is hungry for something that Gideon's gentle father can't give, and Gideon's uncle, a harsh taskmaster, has raised his family in fear and sullen silences. Gideon survives the mundane cruelties and sorrows of home life by turning to the stories--and the land itself--in which he finds peace, and a little magic.At its core, Ormeshadow is a tale of domestic horror. It's also one I think we need very much right now, in a day and age when our treatment of other people often seems to reflect the worst we have to offer, because this is a book which ultimately plants a kernel of hope. Maybe we can be kind to one another. Maybe something good can ultimately happen. Maybe we'll find a little magic, or maybe we'll just find that one person who will stand beside us in hard times. Maybe there is, after all, sunlight after the smoke clears.
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  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    I preordered this novella after enjoying the author’s previous short fiction. Ormeshadow is somewhat different in (genre?) from many of those but in an equally wonderful way.There are so many reasons to like this book, to love this book, and above all, to buy this book.Ormeshadow could be called ’fantasy’ but I would call it a “story” in its fullest sense. This is the kind of story you imagine you’d find in a history before rigorous fact-checking robbed humanity of its be I preordered this novella after enjoying the author’s previous short fiction. Ormeshadow is somewhat different in (genre?) from many of those but in an equally wonderful way.There are so many reasons to like this book, to love this book, and above all, to buy this book.Ormeshadow could be called ’fantasy’ but I would call it a “story” in its fullest sense. This is the kind of story you imagine you’d find in a history before rigorous fact-checking robbed humanity of its best lies. This is the kind of book you put on the shelf between Plutarch and Mervyn Peake because it fits there. It is a story that gives signals that it takes place in a real location but silently implies that that location is somewhere before the first page and after the last. It flirts with the fantastic almost as palate cleanser between the tale of a dysfunctional family told so well and real that I felt real anger. If I called Ormeshadow a myth, I think I would be right because, among other reasons, it is true as myths are true, true as in meaning, not as in ‘fact’. You read the story and you forget that a person wrote this thing. If it had grown out of the ground and dropped from a tree that produced only the pages of beautiful stories well-told and memorable, you would not be surprised. It is the kind of story that, once released into the wild, lives in the back of your dreams. Read this book.
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  • Gillian
    January 1, 1970
    This novella was beautifully written and lyrical. For such a short piece the world it built was rich, morose, and complicated. The reason I'm not giving it more stars is because, for a piece that focused so much on feelings and the emotional fallout of things, the end left me a bit wanting. In fact, though the vast majority of the book relied on a single POV narrator (that of the protagonist), after the climax we never went back into his head, and had a series of scenes seen from multiple tertia This novella was beautifully written and lyrical. For such a short piece the world it built was rich, morose, and complicated. The reason I'm not giving it more stars is because, for a piece that focused so much on feelings and the emotional fallout of things, the end left me a bit wanting. In fact, though the vast majority of the book relied on a single POV narrator (that of the protagonist), after the climax we never went back into his head, and had a series of scenes seen from multiple tertiary characters. I with I could have gone through the falling action with Gideon, because the consequences of it were so huge. Instead I still don't really know how he feels. Does he feel guilt, resentment, catharsis, gratitude, a complicated muddle of all these? tldr: beautifully written, leaves one a bit wanting at the end.
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  • Thomas Mcphee
    January 1, 1970
    HeaavvyyyWoof this is one he'll of an intense story. Excellent, but thick, worth a lot of thought and intense investment.
  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    A very sweet novella, mostly about a young man trying to grapple with a change in his family's circumstances -- supported by a beautifully magical ending.
  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    Review will be appearing in the October 2019 issue of Library JournalHere is the link: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai...
  • Traveling Cloak
    January 1, 1970
    Gideon Belman is content with his life in Bath, where his father has a good job as a secretary. But, when Gideon’s father loses his job, the family is suddenly uprooted and returns to Ormeshadow - where Gideon’s father grew up - to work the family farm. When Gideon learns there is a family history in Ormeshadow that involves an ancient dragon, his life suddenly gets more interesting.I found this book to quite endearing. The premise of a family returning home and the history that come Gideon Belman is content with his life in Bath, where his father has a good job as a secretary. But, when Gideon’s father loses his job, the family is suddenly uprooted and returns to Ormeshadow - where Gideon’s father grew up - to work the family farm. When Gideon learns there is a family history in Ormeshadow that involves an ancient dragon, his life suddenly gets more interesting.I found this book to quite endearing. The premise of a family returning home and the history that comes to light is very intriguing. There is much family drama to follow, as well as local politics and customs. Not to mention the tale of the dragon, which is rich in history of its own.The main protagonist, Gideon, is a great character. This book is sort of a coming of age for him as he learns how to deal with family and growing up in a new town trying to find his place in the world. All of the characters in Ormeshadow are well-written. Though the book focuses on Gideon as the main character, the reader gets to experience the high and lows of each of the others, as well.The one drawback to this book: I did not like the ending. It felt like there could have been a better way to finish the story. All-in-all, Ormeshadow was a good read. I loved the family drama and descriptions of the farm and the surrounding land. Plus, the draw of the dragon brings the reader in and gives them something to root for. I recommend this book for fantasy readers.
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  • Abi Walton
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this novella so much and devoured it in one sitting. Ormeshadow is a fragile beautiful novel about magic and loss. I went into Ormeshadow with no idea what this novel was about I hadn't even read the blurb I just loved the front cover. And I loved it! Although this novel is classed as fantasy it is set in a bleak Victorian England, where life was turmoil and claustrophobic, where magic struggled to survive. The fantasy element of this novella are subtle and weaved into the tale bringing I loved this novella so much and devoured it in one sitting. Ormeshadow is a fragile beautiful novel about magic and loss. I went into Ormeshadow with no idea what this novel was about I hadn't even read the blurb I just loved the front cover. And I loved it! Although this novel is classed as fantasy it is set in a bleak Victorian England, where life was turmoil and claustrophobic, where magic struggled to survive. The fantasy element of this novella are subtle and weaved into the tale bringing light to the bleak surroundings, but Sharma's writing seduced me and made me desperate to believe that the implied magic was real all along and all tales are true. I have had a wonderful year with characters called Gideon from theGideon the Ninth Ninth to Gideon Bedlem they have captured my heart and I am excited to see what else is in store with Sharma.
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  • Dan Coxon
    January 1, 1970
    An intriguing combination of landscape fiction and historical fantasy (Here be dragons...), the end result is both weirdly unsettling and emotionally engaging. There's an element of folk horror too, as a family's escape to the countryside quickly turns sour, and family jealousies rise to the surface. If the Brontes had read Lord of the Rings, they might have written something like this.
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  • Lee Franklin
    January 1, 1970
    A deluge of sadness, heartbreak and hope.I can easily understand why this book has received the great reviews it has. Sharma effortlessly paints a story that is so haunting, yet so vivid. No words are wasted, a lessor Author would of fluffed it out but Sharma hits every note on point.Families are complicated, even more so on Ormeshadow farm. Characters are real and the mood is cast like a thick fog from the first sentence. Treat yourself.
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  • Kerry Pickens
    January 1, 1970
    I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book more than any other book I have read recently. It's the story of a family conflict between two brothers, and told from the viewpoint of the young son. There is also magical realism from the stories that the boy's father tells him about the countryside that they grew up in - "The Orme" and show there are sleeping dragons underneath the hills with stocks of gold. It's a wonderfully written story, and I am looking forward to reading more books by I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book more than any other book I have read recently. It's the story of a family conflict between two brothers, and told from the viewpoint of the young son. There is also magical realism from the stories that the boy's father tells him about the countryside that they grew up in - "The Orme" and show there are sleeping dragons underneath the hills with stocks of gold. It's a wonderfully written story, and I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Just the kind of atmospheric sheep-farming folktale I wanted to read in October. It arrived on my birthday; I read it all in one day. Also, I’ve preordered three books this year and they were all from Tor, so clearly they’re doing something right.
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  • Anthony
    January 1, 1970
    Full review coming.
  • Kit Power
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely ruddy marvellous.
  • Stacia
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best books I've read this year.
  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    Based on folklore? Coming of age? Dark?? YAYYY!
  • Jillian Mcclelland
    January 1, 1970
    Favourite book this year. Very atmospheric and perfect for a rainy fall read.
  • Alan Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    Outstanding.
  • Aja
    January 1, 1970
    Such a beautiful, yet bittersweet story. So many feels! 😭
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    This novella (c,32,500 words) is a brooding gothic tale, as a family returns to the farm and the landscape of the father's youth, and his son tries to find his place. There's a strong sense of the mythic in the landscape, said to be formed from a sleeping dragon, and that of course forms the fantastical element of the tale. However, it broods and teases for too long before erupting into a final sequence that isn't really satisfying.(Also, there seems to be a side-theme where various This novella (c,32,500 words) is a brooding gothic tale, as a family returns to the farm and the landscape of the father's youth, and his son tries to find his place. There's a strong sense of the mythic in the landscape, said to be formed from a sleeping dragon, and that of course forms the fantastical element of the tale. However, it broods and teases for too long before erupting into a final sequence that isn't really satisfying.(Also, there seems to be a side-theme where various female characters get punished in various ways - I wasn't quite sure what that was about and didn't find it particularly savoury)
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