This book does something we do as we read all on our own. It’s grants a wish of sorts, a wish anyone in love with their favorite book has surely made.
I would like to believe that everyone understands that feeling of building a relationship with the characters in the book you are reading. This aspect of connection between the reader and the literary work is very important for the story, the reader should be able to identify with the protagonist. I know that I am guilty of feeling a sense of loss at the end of a good book, wondering what those characters are doing now, missing the experience that book gave me through the interaction with those characters. Wishing those magical realms were real. The Hazel Wood, is a story entirely based on one being being absolutely true.
This book felt like separate pieces to me, we start in the real world, running. Suspect things written like poetry, linguistic genius before us, a brilliant plot, but for me, another book lacking meat. I felt like I was reading a collection of sweetly sewn words, playing preciously on my heart, winding wickedly through my mind, and if you haven’t picked up this comparative theme through words that work well together, let me blatantly say that its entirely the point I’m trying to make.
This writer works wonders with words, which I can appreciate, I like the sing song flow of sentences that find lyrical life in my mouth, but that doesn’t tell a story. This books is all words, all the time, which I really liked but there was almost too much going on. the story had a hook, a theme, a plot and a conclusion that all ended up fitting together well, but far too often I had to stop and check to see if I missed a page. There was simply so much going on that I felt I was missing something when I would find myself lost, and unfortunately I found myself lost a lot.
I’ll admit, I was surprised, and what I had predicted wasn’t exactly what or how I expected it to be or play out, but it was a lot at once. Too many different sub stories within this story. The Hazel Wood is a story about a books of stories, we find out they are real and are introduced to a few of the characters from that in universe book. However, that in universe book, is a real universe of its own in this story, and each of the stories in that book exists in that universe, on the same plain, sided by side, never interacting. UNLESS, they are told to interact, to hunt down our main character Alice.
The Hazel Wood is the place where, Alice’s grandmother, author of The Hinterland lived.
Alice’s mother, Ella, keeps them running from the bad luck she attributes to The Hazel Wood. Its a real place in this book, but going there leads to the real Hinterland.
In The Hinterland, there are multiple stories being told, stories of terrible, fantasy style magic, happenings.
There are essentially two in story universes taking place at once, intermingling, and one of them is nearly ten separate stories. Who is who? What is what? At one point we are taken on an acid trip (that’s how Alice describes it) where anything can and does happen, everything is nonsensical but that makes sense in the Hinterland and is not questioned.
Its back to back visual confusion, too much, much too much. But, I didn’t hate it.
While reading it, I still contained the urge to keep going, but I began to think of the book like a collection of poems, lots of lyrical happenings. Its the type of book that makes you want to work on your own book, so that you can write the story you need that you aren’t getting, but it was still so worth my time. Lots of sharp inhales at how beautifully spoken this authors style is, but I wanted more from the story itself. The premise of the plot was an excellent idea, but it left me unfulfilled.