Aunt Maria and others (was: Re: And Yet Another Newcomer)

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Tue Sep 7 06:50:16 EDT 1999

> I'm going to have to admit that a Merlin analogy never occured to me when

Nor to me!

> reading Aunt Maria (we yanks are politically correct at all costs
> don'tcha'kno...), but then I'll also have to admit that Aunt Maria is my

Oh please no, not political correctness!  I suppose I should have guessed.  I
naively assumed that the change in title was because there was already a book
called "Black Maria" in the US (It's a book of cartoons, by Chas Addams, my
favourite cartoonist.  No, I haven't got a copy.  Yet.)

> least favorite of Jones' novels. And if it's going to get Arthurian on me it
> will undoubtedly remain so, since I find most things Arthurian repellent. But
> I suspect that you are right, and that there are further similarities for
> people to pick out like raisins from the muelsi.
> It isn't actually the story itself which repells me. I have a strong stomach
> and Time of the Ghost is nastier (and Homeward Bounders far more unhappy) But
> I think that Jones was a bit too clever in this one. Her narriator gets
> swamped by a spell of dullness early on and it does too good a job of
> infecting the telling, which you follow along more or less out of habit right
> up to the transformation -- which hits you like a bucket of ice water. That
> wakes you up all right, but by that time the events have gotten away from you
> and you are never quite convinced that you've managed to catch up enough to
> be sure of what is going on. I much prefer to be artfully led up the garden

I had not seen it that way but I think I know what you mean.

> path as in Hexwood where all the clues are scrupulously placed right out in
> plain sight, and you look right past them because you haven't got the right
> context for them yet.

Definitely.  Another book where you have to (sorry.  I have to) read it several
times before I can trace all the interconnections.  Sudden Wild Magic is good
like that.

On the other hand, I thought you didn't like things Arthurian, and Hexwood is
definitely that...

> Since you can often see tracings of themes from earlier novels in Jonses's
> current work, I am getting a strong feeling that I see something of Aunt
> Maria in Dark Lord's Mr Chesney figure. Anyone agree?.

Who forces obedience by ignoring any suggestion that he/she might be disobeyed.
Yes.  Good analogy.  I see him as quite closely related to Brother Lawrence
(SWM), too - though Lawrence was not quite so poinsonous - in that neither can
see anything wrong in his exploitation of the other world, even when it is
brought forcefully home to him.


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