Croft and Graves Recommends: I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Crave

Instead of featuring a visually-impaired protagonist, our most recent book recommendation was written by a journalist whose bacterial eye infection led to her becoming almost blind.  For quite some time, her condition prevented her from writing books, but this, her first novel, was finally published in 1967.

Set in British Columbia, Mark Brian, a young vicar is sent by his bishop to live amongst the Kwakiutl Indians.  Mark is terminally ill, although he does not know it, and this posting is the bishop’s way of allowing Mark to learn “enough of the meaning of life to be ready to die.”

At first, Mark feels isolated and out of place but gradually finds himself falling in with the rhythm of life, death and love in the Kwakiutl village.  He also sees the changes wrought by the influence of the outside world as the traditional ways erode and the young become restless and leave.

This short novel, written in deceptively simple sentences, is filled with beauty, joy, sadness and purpose.  After the last page is turned, it is a wrench to leave the world that Margaret Craven’s words have created. Yet, there remains a feeling of wonder and serenity.

Try Forum Bookshop in Corbridge to buy or order your copy now.