Members Reviews: Birds and booze.. Beautifully executed. Having enjoyed Blackmoor another of hogans books that won an award I ordered this straight away.. The characters are all likeable, the setting is a bit different, the prose are beautiful. Really sensitive writing, enjoyable ready. Vivid descriptive writing from a new young talented writer A wildlife park in the middle of England is the unusual backdrop to this novel which mostly features three characters all dealing with the aftermath of the owner's death two years before.
Louisa lives in a cottage across the field from 'the big house' where Maggie and Christopher live and constantly spies on her. As life goes on in the park Maggie and Louisa start to let their barriers down and gradually become close friends, confiding in each other, Louisa helping in the park as well as looking after her beloved hawks and for a while they both start looking forward Louisa's romance with Adam formed quite a large part of the story I really liked Adam but my main doubt was that I just couldn't see what he saw in the unfriendly, unpopular 47 yr old Louisa who lived for her hawks.
It seemed an unlikely friendship to me and I found it difficult to believe. The character I liked the most was Christopher, though I probably shouldn't as he was so weird, but he did make me laugh with his honesty. He once refused to eat meat for a while as he feared retribution from the animals in the park.
Maggie took him to the cinema from page He closed his eyes while he chewed, and sighed with pleasure, as if he'd just taken some life-saving antidote. Crisp shards fell into his hand, which he had readied below his chin for that purpose. He pushed the crumbs in, too. Against all odds, it was fun to watch. When had Maggie last enjoyed food to such an extent? She laughed, and Christopher laughed too, unable to contain his pleasure. Maggie herself has to cope with taking on a venture like the wildlife park which she had never planned to be her role in life and also missing her husband and the emptiness in her life he has left in several ways.
Things have been simmering a while and over the space of a few months and the arrival of Adam, a male escort shocking, ha and another character used to isolation and not quite fitting in with secrets abound, seems to start to bring things to a head. Normally in fictions it is either the spoken work or inner monologue, and while Hogan does this both of these things too, it is those smaller actions which he makes say so much.
Maggie knocked loudly on the door, but then entered without waiting for a reply and stepped quickly through the hall and into the kitchen. Louisa turned back to the sink. What is it? What am I supposed to do about it? But she could not refuse. She dried her hands on her jeans and followed.
Hogan interestingly propels all these feelings and features in all of his characters be it in the slightest of ways. Christopher is a prime example, he is often very funny with his binge drinking and utter bluntness and yet there is always a slightly threatening feeling of danger with him, you never know what he might say or do next, these feelings spread throughout the book and your always just on the edge of your seat, rather like standing on the precipice of a Derbyshire valley with the wind almost pushing you over the edge.
Wasps crawled drunk from grounded apples in the acidic fizz of afternoon light. There is a real sense of humour in this novel, dark but often very funny, yet in many ways it is a moving tale of people and their sense of isolation or being an outsider often leading to events in their pasts be the recent or from years ago. These are events that leave a trace on you and which is described beautifully when Louisa discusses her prized bird Diamond who she saves and leads to the novels title.
A fault line appears, even if the bird is fed again. The fault is called a hunger trace. It is superbly written, its characters live and breathe from the page and you are always left wanting more of both the humour and the dark sense of impending menace and mystery. I simply cannot recommend it enough, easily one of my favourite books of the year. It is books like this which really make reading worthwhile and I hope that many more people discover this gem of a novel. This could be a setting which simply works for me, so I am wondering if you could recommend any more novels along these lines.
I have also noticed that these two books, which are also some of the best writing I have come across this year, have been under the radar to many. I am wondering how I can seek out more of these slightly undiscovered gems? Your recommendations will be a start, so get cracking and you could win a copy of this wonderful novel.
I look forward to seeing what you suggest. Tagged as Edward Hogan , Evie Wyld. A love and murder story spanning 10, years with undertones of The Prisoner and The Wickerman — I loved it! Oddly enough, I had this one sitting at the bottom of my tbr pile for most of the year too and finally decided to read it last week. Some really heartbreaking moments too. You ask about other novels that are similar to these two. It is set during the winter in a snowed-in village in Sweden and I really admire the way Tove Jansson is able to create a very moody atmosphere with so little words.
The Hunger Trace
I could read this every year in January, I think. An elderly man lives almost isolated in a cabin near the border of Norway and Sweden.
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He lives a quiet, contemplating life, trying to get ready for the approaching winter. But one day he meets another old man whom he knows from way back. The meeting stirs memories of the summer on when Trond and his father stayed in the area. Bechin n : Little pieces of meat. Bird of prey n : A bird that hunts primarily with its feet. Blood-feather n : New-growing feather. Bouse, also bowse v : When a hawk drinks. Bob v : To move the head up an down for visual acuity. Broadwings n : Of the subfamily Buteoninae: the buzzards and eagles.
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Bumblefoot n : Blisters on the hawk's foot caused by trauma. Cadge v : To carry numerous birds with a cadge. Cadger n : A person who cadges. Call off, v : To call a bird from a perch. Call in v : To call a bird to the glove. Cap n : Used to describe the plumage on a hawk's head. Carry v : To try to fly away with prey or lure. Cast n : Two hawks flown together.
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Cast v : To hold and immobilize a bird by hand. Cast v : To regurgitate an undigested pellet of fur or feather. Cast off v : To throw off a bird from a raised glove. Cere n : The waxy casing of the nostrils above the beak. Check off, v : To hesitate and refuse prey during flight. Check at v : To change prey target during flight. Complain v : when a bird raises its voice see: Give voice.
Condition In n : Describes when a bird is reliable to fly. Condition, Out of n : Describes when a bird is unable to fly well due to health or weight. Cope v : To cut and file the beak or talons. Coverts n : Small feathers which cover the bases of the larger wings. Creance n : A long piece of string used for training a bird of prey. Crop n : A storage sack in the alimentary canal which precedes the gizzard. Crop-tube n : Tube to feed liquids directly into the crop. Deck feathers n : Central tail feathers. Diurnal: Of the day. Enter, v : To introduce the bird to something new. Eyass n : A young fledgling first year bird.
Eyrie, also aerie n : A nest of an eagle. Falcon n : Used to describe longwings often to denote a female. Falconer n : Generic term for a trainer of birds of prey, originally longwing. Falconry n : The art of training and hunting with birds of prey, orig, Fr: Fauconerie. False-Aylmeri n : Aylmeri anklet which is removeable. Feak v : To wipe the beak upon the perch, orig unkn. Feed up v : To give a full crop of food see: Gorge. Fed up adj : To be full gorged and unresponsive to being called in. Festoon n : A curve in the upper mandible of shortwings and broadwings.
Floccus n : Downy covering on young birds. Flying jess n : A slitless jess permanently attached to aylmeri anklet. Footer, good n : A hawk good with its feet at capturing prey. Footy adj : A hawk prone to lash out with its feet. Fovea n : Concentrations of rods and cones on the retina. Fret-marks v : Marks of weakness on a feather due to lack of food.
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Full-gorged adj : Describes a hawk whose crop is full to capacity See also: gorge. Fur v : To make contact on a slip before the prey escapes. Furniture n : The equipment used in falconry, orig, Fr: fourniture deriv. Game n : Generic term describing all wild prey species. Get in v : To get to the hawk after it has taken prey or lure. Giant hood: An American term to describe a travelling box. Give voice v : When a bird uses its larynx.
Gizzard n : A digestive pouch in the alimentary canal. Glide v : To fly downwards at a low gradient. Glove n : Covering for hand with seperate sheath for each finger,orig OE: glof. Glueing-in v : when imping, to glue old shafts directly into current shafts.
Gorge v : To eat to capacity, See: Crop up. Gyrkin n : Male gyr see also: Jerkin. Hack v : A period of liberty for fledgling birds before training,. Hack-board n : Feeding station where food is placed for birds at hack. Hard-down: A fully moulted bird.