Joan Aiken (Was: Re: Regency and other fantasy)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Wed Sep 5 16:52:42 EDT 2001

>  >>
>>>I don't know if I would have put it this way, but at least for the one I've
>>>read, that's how it seems.  Actually to me it felt a little like Thomas
>>>Hardy, where that's just the way the world is--completely uninterested in
>>>the small fates of Aiken's protagonists, and all the possibilities are
>>>heavily weighted toward Bad Luck.
>>Ergh.  Um, not for me.  But then I'm not a Hardy fan and you are, so
>>maybe we're talking different feelings here.  :)  But we can discuss
>>it more after (if) you've read them.
>Well, yes, because I only have one data point to generalize from right now.
>:)  But it's probably fair to say that because Hardy's impersonal universe
>thing doesn't bother me, it also doesn't affect my enjoyment of Joan Aiken
>to characterize _Midnight is a Place_ as similar.

I only have two (very old) Hardy data points - and all the discussion 
about Tess here, of course.  The word I've heard most often applied 
to Joan Aiken (YA) is Dickensian - which I avoided because of all the 
non-Dickens fans.  I can sort of see it and sort of don't agree, 
which doesn't add much to the discussion.  Off the top of my head, 
the names seem quite Dickensian, and the wildly rich plots and 
twists, and the teeming and sometimes grimey London settings could. 
But those are probably not what put people off Dickens, so maybe 
there was no need to steer clear of the mention.   (Anyone thinking 
about saying why they loathe Dickens needn't worry - I wouldn't 
respond with anything like the fanatacism with which I just *might* 
respond to a similar comment about Jane Austen. :) )


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list