Fire and Hemlock - my first breathless thoughts...

McMullin, Elise emcmullin at
Mon Jul 24 10:10:37 EDT 2000

"I've just finished "Fire and Hemlock" for the first time and it's one of my
favourite books; not just of DWJ's books, but of all books since the dawn of

Oooo, clearly an individual of keen discernment, wit and robust taste!

"I think it was an advantage going in blind to this story.  I had no idea
what to expect, apart from perhaps a bit of witchcraft somewhere along the
way.  The story unfurled as if I were maturing and realising the truth just
like the heroine, Polly Whittaker.  I'd had never read Tam Lin or Thomas the
Rhymer, so I didn't get those references either, until they were explained
in the book.  In short, F&H is a classic - a wonderful, sinister,
sensational book."

I think I am jealous that I have already read it!  If only I could sip the
waters of Lethe and wake up to a pile of the complete works of dwj right
next to the bed.

Spoilers section for Fire & Hemlock:

"If you give someone a book as a gift
and the book means something to you, it's like handing over a part of
yourself; you are sharing your love of something, but giving up part of your
ownership of it.  

To my mind, Thomas Lynn attempts to give himself to Polly, in pieces, by
sharing favourite books [and, later, music] with her.  The plan fails, but
the bond created must have been very powerful; by the end of the book, they
are keen to share each other in a different way."

I like it! I don't think I've heard that idea from anyone here - and I
certainly hadn't thought of that myself.  I think it works very well and you
are right on target. Very interesting!  I need to go take F&H out of the
library again

"Anyway, looks like my crash course in DWJ is coming along nicely! What to
read next?"

Hmm, I don't know why I suggest it, but try Dogsbody.  Or should he try Deep
Secret next?

Eagerly awaiting the u.s. re-publication of Fire & Hemlock
When? Oh, when?
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