Diana Wynne Jones
- Diana Wynne Jones died Saturday morning at a hospice in Bristol, England,
aged 76. (News reported via Charles Butler, MSA-winning scholar of her work
and her personal friend.) She'd been in ill-health for a long time, but
this is still grievous news.
DWJ was twice winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and several more times
a nominee. My favorite of her books is _Fire and Hemlock_, which twists
together the legends of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer with a contemporary
setting, an eerie conception of magic, implanted memories, and a
fiction-writing heroine who matures gracefully from about ten to college-age
in the course of the story.
- I can't decide which of Cart and Cwidder or The Spellcoats is my favorite. I remember laughing until my sides hurt when reading some of her other books.
And, while Drowned Ammet wasn't my absolute favorite, it was a good answer to a comment a friend of mine made years ago. He was tired of fantasy in which everyone was a noble, fighter, mage, or priest, and no one seemed to be doing the work that would have been necessary to feed and clothe all of them. There's a certain blanket in Drowned Ammet that shows that Jones didn't make that mistake. I mean, okay, a lot of things show it, but that's the one I remember best.
- It sounds like someone (who is not me, as I'm not that conversant with her
work) should write up an article for Mythprint and send it to Jason. Any
takers? I'll bet a lot of us would like to read it.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Diana Wynne Jones
I can't decide which of Cart and Cwidder or The Spellcoats is my favorite. I
remember laughing until my sides hurt when reading some of her other books.
And, while Drowned Ammet wasn't my absolute favorite, it was a good answer
to a comment a friend of mine made years ago. He was tired of fantasy in
which everyone was a noble, fighter, mage, or priest, and no one seemed to
be doing the work that would have been necessary to feed and clothe all of
them. There's a certain blanket in Drowned Ammet that shows that Jones
didn't make that mistake. I mean, okay, a lot of things show it, but that's
the one I remember best.
The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
- A very good idea, Berni. I had planned to run a short announcement, but something longer and fuller would be most welcome. I would like to read something like this myself.
I only met Ms. Jones once or twice--I think she was at a local con (was it WFC? 4th Street? Minicon?), and maybe we had a Rivendell discussion that she might have been at, but I did hear her speak at the Children's Literature Research Collections for sure.She was extremely nice and told the funniest stories, I still repeat one fairly often about the "rewriting" that she did for her editor on _Charmed Life_. She signed my copy. I still love that book about as well as any, though I think her best is _The Spellcoats_, and _Drowned Ammet_ is nearly as good, and _Archer's Goon_, and _Dogsbody_, and _Howl's Moving Castle_, and _Fire and Hemlock_--which is her most ambitious book, but which I don't think quite works. Her latest book, I hope it's not the last in the pipeline, but maybe it is, is _Enchanted Glass_, and I read it pretty much in one sitting, yesterday. I liked it a lot. It's a bit more for the younger reader than some of the others that I mentioned, which I liked, but somehow doesn't reach the mythopoeic resonance of _Dogsbody_. It does have a dog--well ... a were-dog, and a boy, and if it's the last DWJ we're to have, it's a fine book to go out on. Read it and her others.I was surprised at how saddened that learning of her death left me feeling. After all, I'd barely met her, and as much as I loved many of her books, I'd heard of her discontinuing her chemotherapy quite some time back. So this wasn't a surprise. In _Enchanted Glass_ her chief protagonist, the boy, Aidan, has to deal with grief over his grandmother's death, and there's a little discussion among several characters about loss and grief, I couldn't help thinking of all the people who seemed to love Diana Wynne Jones so well, a couple of them, also writers like Jane Yolen and Neil Gaiman and Emma Bull have written in the last 24 hours or so. As we age, we have more and more such losses and grief, and certainly a part of life is learning how to go on living after these losses--even where we don't "get over" grief, which really lurks around and can suddenly be as sharp as ever, decades later. I've always thought of this experience as lurking in a silverware drawer, when you reach in for a fork and get stabbed unexpectedly by a knife (or a fork, I guess). She actually used the metaphor of a cup in the cupboard in this book. What a wise woman and writer she was. I'm glad that she's left us so much of her wisdom in her books.
Has everyone seen this from Neil Gaiman?
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- thanks, Jo-- I hadn't.
-- Lynn --
--- In email@example.com, "Jo Foster" <jfoster@...> wrote:
> Has everyone seen this from Neil Gaiman?