Today dear readers I am reviewing What Willow Says (Published 27th May 2021) By Lynn Buckle. A big thank you to the publishers époque press for sending me a copy to read and review. I have read Buckle’s work before, her debut novel The Groundsmen. You can read the review here, enjoy!
What Willow Says
Sharing stories of myths, legends and ancient bogs, a deaf child and her grandmother experiment with the lyrical beauty of sign language. Learning to communicate through their shared love of trees they find solace in the shapes and susurrations of leaves in the wind. A poignant tale of family bonding and the quiet acceptance of change.
About The Author
Lynn Buckle was educated at University of Warwick and NUI Maynooth as an art historian and tutor. She lives on the boggy hinterlands beyond Dublin with her children, large and small. She draws, paints, and teaches there. Her protest writing features in HCE Review, Luisne an Chleite, Brigid, Infinite Possibilities and the époque press é-zine. She has benefitted from awards by the John Hewitt Society, Greywood Arts, Kildare Arts & Library Service, and was appointed UNESCO Cities of Literature Writer in Residence 2021 at the National Centre for Writing, Norwich.
Lynn’s debut novel The Groundsmen was published by époque press in 2018
This is one of those stories that will challenge and enhance your senses dear reader. The narrative follows a series of journal entires from a grandmother who cares for her deaf granddaughter. She tells her granddaughter Irish mythical stories of the woods, trees, kelpies and frogs. The grandmother is an artist and is often sketching different types of trees as part of a project. Not much is known about her past, she went to art college, was once married but the husband passed away and she lost one of her daughters, the mother to the granddaughter. She has classes to help her learn sign language but admits she hasn’t been practising a lot which means at times she struggles to understand her granddaughter or there is a lot of miscommunication.
I enjoyed watching the relationship between the two relatives unfold. The granddaughter tells the grandmother that she will hear the trees talk if she practises. The grandmother silently carries a heavy burden and finds it easier to stay quiet, she doesn’t know how to talk. She admires how her granddaughter doesn’t let anything hold her back. Often the granddaughter leads the way and tries to show her grandmother a different view of the world. The grandmother feels very planted in the past and tales of old, trying to teach the granddaughter the stories of the land. There are signs and hints that soon the grandmother won’t be around and is trying to prepare her for this. It’s emotional to read as at times the grandmother doesn’t see much point in learning sign language and thinks back to loved ones she’s lost. There is a moment when she sees men ripping down some trees, watching the bark and leaves fly everywhere. She remembers clearly the day they were planted and moves quickly on. The distraction is hard to read as Buckle’s words pull you in, heightening your senses and cause for concern. Nature is such a beauty to behold that it’s scary how in a matter of seconds it can be destroyed and left to rot.
Buckle brings a mythical and magical experience to her writing that bewitches you beyond the point of no return. This book is filled with sounds and nature that comes alive from the moment you start reading. Buckle has a gentle relaxing style that immerses your feet deep into the earth as the sounds of nature whisper through the air. You close your eyes and find yourself talking to the trees, learning a new language and form of communication. You will be surprised how much you learn dear reader, all you have to do is listen.
I give What Willow Says By Lynn Buckle a Four out of Five paw rating.
This book is a brief read at 128 pages long, but Buckle gives you just enough of a taste of the other worldly where children are turned into frogs and kelpies roam the waters that you will feel more than enlightened by your stay. You will crave more but will fully appreciate your time roaming the woods, talking to trees and listening to the river. It will soothe you and connect you to a language that speaks more truth than words could ever say.
Hop hop wiggle wiggle