The Earth Hums in B Flat

The Earth Hums in B Flat

Gweni isn’t like other girls. For a start, she can fly in her sleep. This ability allows her to see things that would otherwise go undetected - like the man lying face down in the pool, his “moonshiny” eyes staring out. 

The Earth Hums in B Flat is, put simply, a detective story told from the perspective of Gweni, a 12 year old girl on the cusp of adulthood. As Gweni struggles to make sense of a crime that’s haunting her community, she also struggles to make sense of the changes occurring in her own life, of the complexities of her village's circumstances and the sometimes blurred distinction between good and bad. Whilst helping the local police officer to untangle the crime she ends up inadvertently untangling her own family history and grasps, for the first time, the continued influence of the past on our present. These discoveries end up challenging Gweni’s preconceptions of what is right and wrong, allowing us to see her young mind grow and develop as she begins to leave her childhood behind.

Told in a simple, unaffected manner The Earth Hums in B Flat is a warm novel dealing with the issues of growing up in a small village in Wales during the 1950s. Although the story is set in the past its themes are as relevant today. There is something special about this book because there is something special about Gweni; her ability to fly in her sleep marks her out from other children allowing her to see the world from a different perspective, feeling the beat of its existence in a way that others simply can’t. Luckily we get a glimpse of it here.


  • 'Strachan's deft handling of a dark subject is both sober and sparkling.'

    The Guardian

  • 'A blend of magic, detective tale and bildungsroman, Mari Strachan’s debut novel is full of quaint charm. Gwenni’s inventive take on the world – from the faces she sees in the wallpaper to her belief that a neighbour’s fur stole blinks at her – is a delight.'

    The Financial Times

Mari Strachan


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Publication details:

The Earth Hums in B Flat
Canongate (2009)


Translation rights:

Andrea Joyce
14 High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1TE
Scotland, UK

T +44 (0)131 557 5111
F +44 (0)131 557 5211

Rights sold:

Azeri - Alatoran
Bulgarian - Arka
Chinese (Taiwan) - Ace
Dutch - De Bezige Bij
Finnish - Karisto
French - Robert Laffont
German - DUMONT Literatur und Kunst Verlag
Italian - Piemme
Norwegian - Aschehoug
Spanish - Espasa
Swedish - Forum
Turkish - Altin Kitap
US - Grove