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Re: Oh Peter, Peter, Peter Beagle...

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  • Matthew Winslow
    ... I had this problem with the book, also. Matter a fact, I almost chucked it before finishing. Writing now from the other side of the back cover (yes, I
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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      Stolzi@... [Stolzi@...] wrote:
      > But didn't you find that it took a long time starting? This was one of the
      > few criticisms that I - and many reader-reviewers on amazon.com - had. Too
      > much background, too much rambling in the (startlingly accurate) voice of the
      > teen girl narrator. Too long before they get to the farm and the
      > strangenesses begin to appear.

      I had this problem with the book, also. Matter'a'fact, I almost chucked it
      before finishing. Writing now from the other side of the back cover (yes, I
      finished it), I see that all that set up had a purpose, but that doesn't help
      one having to wade through it for the first time. Contrary to its title, the
      book is about Jennifer, so Beagle creates her as a real character before
      'sidetracking' (as it were) with the actual storyline. Still, it makes for
      some rough reading for the first third of the book. I expect this one'll end
      up on the MFA long list, if not the short list.

      --
      Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
      "I want to overhear passionate arguments about what we are and what we are
      doing and what we ought to do. I want to feel that art is an utterance made
      in good faith by one human being to another. I want to believe there are
      geniuses scheming to astonish the rest of us, just for the pleasure of it.
      I miss civilization, and I want it back."
      --Marilynne Robinson
      Currently reading: Pharaohs and Kings by David Rohl
    • Stolzi@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/2/00 7:01:06 PM Central Standard Time, ... But didn t you find that it took a long time starting? This was one of the few criticisms that
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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        In a message dated 1/2/00 7:01:06 PM Central Standard Time,
        unicorn@... writes:

        > The only thing I recall disappointed by in TAMSIN was that it had
        > to end.

        But didn't you find that it took a long time starting? This was one of the
        few criticisms that I - and many reader-reviewers on amazon.com - had. Too
        much background, too much rambling in the (startlingly accurate) voice of the
        teen girl narrator. Too long before they get to the farm and the
        strangenesses begin to appear.

        Mary S
      • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
        It was interesting to read TAMSIN right after finishing Susan Cooper s juvenile, THE BOGGART. Very similar subjects, but one handled in a kiddy manner, the
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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          It was interesting to read TAMSIN right after finishing Susan Cooper's
          juvenile, THE BOGGART. Very similar subjects, but one handled in a kiddy
          manner, the other SO much more mature, more depth, more poesy... I was also
          pleased to see that Beagle, having written two recent books set in an
          imaginary world of his own (INNKEEPER'S SONG), can also very competently
          people our =own= world with fantasy beings.

          Mary S
        • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
          In a message dated 1/3/00 11:16:14 AM Central Standard Time, ... Imnsho, he didn t need to spend that much time on it. And the little rambling verbal asides
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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            In a message dated 1/3/00 11:16:14 AM Central Standard Time,
            mwinslow@... writes:

            > Beagle creates her as a real character before
            > 'sidetracking' (as it were) with the actual storyline.

            Imnsho, he didn't need to spend that much time on it. And the little
            rambling verbal asides meant to establish Jenny's character and her
            "realness" were so over-frequent that I was almost at the point of yelling at
            the book, "Shut UP, girl!" :)

            An interesting exercise wd be to xerox those first chapters and go at them
            with a blue-pencil, see how much really NEEDS to be there to do the
            establishing.

            And again I say -- "How did Evan meet Sally in the first place?"

            Had I been editing it, too, Sally would have been "Mom." There's too many
            names and roles to keep straight, what with Jenny's NYC friends, and her UK
            friend we've not even =met= yet, "Meena," whom she keeps referring to...
            Even though the kind of girl Jenny is might well call her mother "Sally,"
            "Mom" would have placed her and put her in her role with much less effort for
            the reader.

            In Susan Cooper's THE BOGGART, I had the same trouble with daughter Emily and
            mother Maggie. ("Which one is it this time!?!?") That one's told in the
            third person, though. If Maggie had been referred to as "Mrs..." more often,
            it would have helped. I think it's all right to call such a character
            "Mother" or "Mrs" when the book is so definitely a juvenile, and Maggie is so
            definitely married. But I suppose authors are scared of running into the
            whole Mrs/Ms problem.

            Mary S
          • Mary Kay Kare
            ... As another country heard from, I quite enjoyed TAMSIN. I was amazed and delighted at how Beagle got into the mind of a teen-age girl. And I don t even
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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              ERATRIANO@... wrote:

              > From: ERATRIANO@...
              >
              > In a message dated 01/01/2000 8:02:40 PM Eastern Standard Time,
              > Stolzi@... writes:
              >
              > << I will say no more for fear of spoilers, but I am
              >
              > Disappointed, >>
              > ARGH and I usually love Beagle but I think I may pass on TAMSIN ... thanks
              > for the warning
              >

              As another country heard from, I quite enjoyed TAMSIN. I was amazed and
              delighted at how Beagle got into the mind of a teen-age girl. And I don't
              even like ghost stories. Usually. But nothing about Peter Beagle is usual...

              MK
            • Mary Kay Kare
              ... Interesting. I didn t have any trouble at all with the beginning being slow. ONe of the things I enjoy most about fiction is getting to know people I d
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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                Stolzi@... wrote:

                > From: Stolzi@...
                >
                > In a message dated 1/3/00 11:16:14 AM Central Standard Time,
                > mwinslow@... writes:
                >
                > > Beagle creates her as a real character before
                > > 'sidetracking' (as it were) with the actual storyline.
                >
                > Imnsho, he didn't need to spend that much time on it. And the little
                > rambling verbal asides meant to establish Jenny's character and her
                > "realness" were so over-frequent that I was almost at the point of yelling at
                > the book, "Shut UP, girl!" :)
                >
                > An interesting exercise wd be to xerox those first chapters and go at them
                > with a blue-pencil, see how much really NEEDS to be there to do the
                > establishing.

                Interesting. I didn't have any trouble at all with the beginning being slow.
                ONe of the things I enjoy most about fiction is getting to know people I'd
                otherwise never encounter. And that's what we were doing with the long
                beginning. I guess I just liked hanging ou? with those people and wasn't
                waiting imaptiently for the 'fantasy' to start.

                > And again I say -- "How did Evan meet Sally in the first place?"

                Well, gee, maybe he just liked hanging out with musicians. I do it a lot and I
                was (when I worked) a librarian. I have a vague memory that he was in the US on
                business and they met somehow through the musical connection.

                > Had I been editing it, too, Sally would have been "Mom." There's too many
                > names and roles to keep straight, what with Jenny's NYC friends, and her UK
                > friend we've not even =met= yet, "Meena," whom she keeps referring to...
                > Even though the kind of girl Jenny is might well call her mother "Sally,"
                > "Mom" would have placed her and put her in her role with much less effort for
                > the reader.
                >
                > In Susan Cooper's THE BOGGART, I had the same trouble with daughter Emily and
                > mother Maggie. ("Which one is it this time!?!?") That one's told in the
                > third person, though. If Maggie had been referred to as "Mrs..." more often,
                > it would have helped. I think it's all right to call such a character
                > "Mother" or "Mrs" when the book is so definitely a juvenile, and Maggie is so
                > definitely married. But I suppose authors are scared of running into the
                > whole Mrs/Ms problem.
                >

                I didn't have this problem with TAMSIN but I know what you mean. The book I
                most recently had that happen with was Pat Murphy's THERE AND BACK AGAIN. I
                couldn't keep the sibs straight, but then, I couldn't keep the dwarves straight
                in THE HOBBIT either. Still have trouble after all the re-readings in the past
                30+ years.
                MK
              • Berni Phillips
                ... Yes, it took too long to get to the farm. I was rather dismayed at the actions of the narrator while she was in New York. With her drug use and disdain
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 3, 2000
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                  Stolzi@... wrote:
                  >
                  > From: Stolzi@...
                  >
                  > In a message dated 1/2/00 7:01:06 PM Central Standard Time,
                  > unicorn@... writes:
                  >
                  > > The only thing I recall disappointed by in TAMSIN was that it had
                  > > to end.
                  >
                  > But didn't you find that it took a long time starting? This was one of the
                  > few criticisms that I - and many reader-reviewers on amazon.com - had. Too
                  > much background, too much rambling in the (startlingly accurate) voice of the
                  > teen girl narrator. Too long before they get to the farm and the
                  > strangenesses begin to appear.
                  >
                  > Mary S

                  Yes, it took too long to get to the farm. I was rather dismayed at the
                  actions of the narrator while she was in New York. With her drug use
                  and disdain for authority, she was headed in the wrong direction. I
                  shudder to think what might have become of her if her mother hadn't
                  taken her to Britain. I certainly was uninterested in the character in
                  those early chapters.

                  Berni
                • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                  In a message dated 1/3/00 8:59:05 PM Central Standard Time, ... Where, as best I recall, she never even tried to get a connection or to light up. Does this
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 4, 2000
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                    In a message dated 1/3/00 8:59:05 PM Central Standard Time,
                    bernip@... writes:

                    > With her drug use
                    > and disdain for authority, she was headed in the wrong direction. I
                    > shudder to think what might have become of her if her mother hadn't
                    > taken her to Britain.

                    Where, as best I recall, she never even tried to get a connection or to
                    light up. Does this mean that tougher schoolwork, hard field work, or being
                    entertained by ghosts (I'm not sure which) removes the desire for weed? :)

                    Mary S
                  • Mary Kay Kare
                    ... I didn t find her occasional marijuana use, or disdain for authority, particularly disturbing or even noteworthy for a teen-ager living in NYC in the late
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 8, 2000
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                      Stolzi@... wrote:

                      > From: Stolzi@...
                      >
                      > In a message dated 1/3/00 8:59:05 PM Central Standard Time,
                      > bernip@... writes:
                      >
                      > > With her drug use
                      > > and disdain for authority, she was headed in the wrong direction. I
                      > > shudder to think what might have become of her if her mother hadn't
                      > > taken her to Britain.
                      >
                      > Where, as best I recall, she never even tried to get a connection or to
                      > light up. Does this mean that tougher schoolwork, hard field work, or being
                      > entertained by ghosts (I'm not sure which) removes the desire for weed? :)
                      >

                      I didn't find her occasional marijuana use, or disdain for authority,
                      particularly disturbing or even noteworthy for a teen-ager living in NYC in the
                      late 90's. I do sort of wonder what explains the total lack of interest in a
                      little pot once she gets to England. Perhaps a different social milieu and all
                      those adjustments?

                      MK
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