The Siege of Trencher’s Farm – Straw Dogs by Gordon M. Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
George Magruder is a civilized man, a man who doesn’t believe in violence or guns. He believes in the advancement of mankind, using debate and discussion to address problems. George is an American. He married a Brit named Louise and together they have a young impressionable daughter. The Magruder family has been living in Louise’s country for several months as George works on a research paper. They have bypassed the civilized city, renting a sprawling home called “Trencher’s Farm” inside a mysterious village in the fringes of England, miles away from London, miles away from the rest of the world.
As George, the civilized outsider, complains to his wife about the uncivilized village surrounding him, a storm begins brewing. George is about to clash with a group of locals who wants to bury him and his family along with the other secrets plaguing this backwater village.
During a series of bizarre mishaps, George finds himself harboring a legally insane pedophile as a group of hostile men, under the influence of not only alcohol, but years of repression, attempts to breach his house. A blizzard has crippled this small village, but it hasn’t crippled the action unfolding at Trencher’s Farm. George has the simple yet very powerful objective of protecting his home and his family. The last half of the book plays out in near real-time. This is the book’s best and, conversely, most critical feature. It’s literary genius to see George transform right in front of your eyes. He becomes a “man,” at least in his wife’s eyes, and uses his book smarts to defend, and ultimately attack, these intruders. Every man has his breaking point and Mr. Williams provides us with a window into George’s transformation from a coward, to a strong man, to an inhuman animal.
If you enjoy action and becoming immersed into the details of an elaborate plot, then you must read this classic. Two films have spawned from Mr. Williams’ words. This book has similarities in characters and form, but it’s nothing like the film adaptations. Read it!