Jennifer Forsyth jforsyth at equinox.unr.edu
Fri Dec 7 17:37:49 EST 2001

> Re others' points about the complexity of the book: I am an odd sort of
> reader in that I don't usually care about whether I can make sense of the
> plot, as long as I get the general impression that it does make sense. I
> never remember whodunit when I re-read murder stories, for instance (barring
> ones I've read many times, like Sayers and Allingham), and when I'm reading
> one for the first time, it has to be extraordinarily bad for me to figure out
> the murderer before the detective does. In fact, if you will believe this, it
> was only on the third or fourth time through Hexwood that I remembered
> beforehand what the Bannus was.
> Books where I have a nagging feeling that it really *doesn't* make sense do
> bother me -- I have this problem with nearly all of Pamela Dean's books, but
> I don't have the skills to sort them out, either. (Maddening, as I find her
> ordinary expository style very very clear, so much so that I'm always wishing
> she would write nonfiction. But this is not a Dean discussion.)
> Helen Schinske

I was smiling in utter understanding as I read your first paragraph, thinking
that we were kindred spirits (my husband can never understand my selective -- and
completely involuntary -- amnesia regarding book plots):  I didn't remember this
time the true identity of the Bannus, even though this is my third or fourth time
through as well. But then I was surprised that you don't enjoy Dean, who is one
of my favorite authors. I'm not saying that everything of hers does make sense;
my husband (sorry to drag him in again, but he's my plot advisor) is heavily
critical of her plots (and of DWJ's, but that's another story, and I love him
anyhow). Before now, I had always thought of my inability to intuitively grasp,
say, the ending of _Fire & Hemlock_ or _Hexwood_ as roughly the same as my
inability to follow the complexities of the _Secret Country_ trilogy's plot, but
now I'm going to have to rethink this. (I do have Dean's most recent, _Juniper,
Gentian, and Rosemary_, in a very different category.)

Jennifer Forsyth

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