desert island question

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Sun Apr 25 13:47:17 EDT 2004

Allison said...

> On Sat, Apr 24, 2004 at 08:19:39PM +0100, Dorian E. Gray wrote:
> > E. Nesbit.  My personal favourite is "The Magic City", but that seems to
> > impossible to get hold of these days.  "The Story of the Treasure
> > has vivid depictions of Victorian London, and the kids' efforts to make
> > money are very convincing.  Plus I love the device of having one of the
> > tell the story without telling you overtly which one it is.
> This could be compared to Time of the Ghost if we wanted to pull in a
> DWJ connection.  Although, she not only doesn't tell you who is telling
> the story, the person telling the story doesn't know.

True, though I'm not sure just how far you could take that comparison.  In
"The Story of the Treasure Seekers", the narrator is one of the six(?)
protagonist children, and describes his own actions as well as everyone
elses in the third person.  While he doesn't say until the end which one of
them he is, it's reasonably obvious to any reader paying attention - he
shows a certain amount of favouritism, let's say. :-)  It's an unusual
device and Nesbit handles it extremely well; it can be hard enough to hold a
narrator's voice in first person, but doing it - and doing it this way! - in
third person is more than *I* would want to attempt.

By contrast, in "The Time of the Ghost", while the story is told from the
POV of one of the sisters, she's not actually the narrator, and while it's
not until halfway through the book that you (and she!) find out who she is,
that's actually an integral part of the plot - whereas the identity of
Nesbit's narrator is not in any way a plot point; it's just the way she
chose to tell that story.  Also, the narrator is not the sole main
character; the children share that spot more or less equally, which is not
the case in DWJ's book.

So I'd say that the books have a superficial similarity, but have far more
differences.  Both are, of course, extremely good books, but I, at least,
don't see them as good candidates for a comparison exercise.

It was an interesting point to think about, though.  Thank you for bringing
it up.

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at

"The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction."
-William Blake, "Proverbs of Heaven and Hell"

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