A new member/Can you recommend a DWJ book?

JOdel at aol.com JOdel at aol.com
Mon Jul 10 12:21:01 EDT 2000


Actually, pretty near all of DWJ's early books would certainly could connect 
to the "nostalgia of childhood" factor. They were written well over 20 years 
ago after all, and the cultural venue in which they were set has developed an 
almost "period piece" flavor. People don't seem to write stories like The 
Ogre Downstairs any more, do they? But at the time, they did. Quite a lot of 
people did, in fact. I would go so far as to say that TOD, of all DWJ's 
works, conformed about the closest to what served as the standard template 
for children's fantasy literature since the days of E. Nesbit. Dogsbody is 
connected to this kind of thing from one side (and to quasi-SF of the other, 
IMHO) Wilkin's Tooth and, yes, Eight Days of Luke, also although to a lesser 
extent. And, for that matter, chilly and comfortless and creepy as the body 
of the story is, Time of the Ghost is almost a textbook example of a "the 
dark side of..." this sort of story.

The Chrestomanci books cropped up toward the end of this early works period, a
nd the Dalemark quartet (which are about the closest DWJ comes to the Narnia 
story type, and are the most overtly mythic of her works, I think) were 
started during this period, but Jones's work has since divorced itself from a 
couple of the basic anchor points of the classic template. Most particularly 
in that in just about all of her books since Fire and Hemlock, either the 
protagonist was past the age of being easily considered a "child", or at 
least one person in parental authority is actively involved in the story. 
Tale of Time City is the most obvious exception to this, and is one of her 
least sucessful, I think. Although that could also be due to the fact that 
this book seems to also be an experiment in attempting to tell the story in a 
non-linear form, which didn't quite gel properly. (To me, Hexwood almost 
reads like a rewrite of this experiment with much better results.) I think 
that the transition point may have been somewhere around the time of the 
writing of The Homeward Bounders where, even though to all appearances Jamie 
Hamilton is somewhere in the 11-13 age bracket (or thereabouts) it has been 
more than a century since he was truly a child.
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