Currently reading: Three Bags Full

swann

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story (2005)
Leonie Swann
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell
344 pages
Flying Dolphin Press

This is what I’m reading right now and it’s one of the funniest books of 2009 so far. When shepherd George Glenn is murdered, it’s his flock of sheep that comes to the rescue to try and find the killer. Three Bags Full is different from anything I’ve ever read. The sheep are great characters. There’s nineteen sheep in all and every one have a personality very different from the others. With Miss Maple, the smartest sheep, Mopple the Whale who can remember anything you tell him to and is always hungry, and Sir Ritchfield, the lead ram, the flock set off to try and understand humans and their ways while finding out who murdered George.

There are plenty of literary references such as Othello, the black ram with a mysterious past, Melmoth the Wanderer, and more. The reader figures out what happens along with the sheep and the sheep’s observations keeps the reader wanting more. I’ve spent most of my free time this week reading this book. I can’t believe this is Swann’s first and only book out right now.

Maple knew them all; she had seen the younger sheep grow up; she herself had grown up with the older sheep. When she was still a lamb the escapades of Ritchfield and his twin, Melmoth, had kept the flock all agog. It was so long since Ritchfield last mentioned him that Maple had thought he’d forgotten him. Now she felt uneasy. The air was perfect: a cool wind blew off the sea, the meadow was fragrant. All the same, the whole place suddenly smelled of death, new death and old, almost forgotten death. Maple began to graze.

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11 thoughts on “Currently reading: Three Bags Full

  1. I loved this book. To me, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but clever-funny, if you know what I mean.

    I loved how the book has a cast-of-character list, too, describing each sheep :-).

  2. This sounds like I would love it – I would already buy it just from the cover alone. I’m so glad you did this review because I was not aware of it; it is totally going on my “to buy” list!

  3. I’ve seen this book but have always shied away from it because it just sounded so odd. Of course, now you’ve got me curious :) I guess one day I’m in the mood for something a bit more quirky I’ll have to check it out!

  4. I am so glad to hear this turned out to be a good book! I remember seeing it in the store awhile back and laughing over the synopsis on the back cover. Didn’t pick it up, but now I might!

  5. I read this a couple of years ago and thought it was so funny. You wouldn’t think the goings on of a flock of sheep would be that entertaining, but they cracked me up.

  6. Chaosdiares: It is! It’s such a clever, interesting, fun book to read. Completely original.

    Mari: Happy reading.

    Valarie: It was great that there was a list of characters inside and outside the book. Having the list on the back cover made me want to read it even more.

    Bermuda: It is!

    Rhapsodyinbooks: If I hadn’t seen a recommendation for this book, I would never have heard of it. I’m so glad I did.

    Iliana: It’s such a great book. I hope you pick it up one day.

    Terri B. I hope you do.

    Laza: I know! I wonder how the author came up with this idea.

  7. Pingback: Review of “Three Bags Full,” by Leonie Swann « Rhapsodyinbooks’s Weblog

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