introduction etc (was DWJ in Israeli newspaper)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Feb 18 12:59:54 EST 2004


Apologies for such a late reply!  I lost broadband and after that was 
back, engaged in an epic battle to get my mother's internet 
connection working again.  It had everything: Love, Suffering, 
Self-Sacrifice, Incompetence.  Ok, the last is not an OMT, but it was 
of heroic proportions, believe me. :)

Ika:

>Favourite characters: oh, The DWJ Boy (Cat Chant, Gair, Luke) and The DWJ
>Selfish Boy (Archer makes me wriggle with delight; Howl is one of the
>wonders of the worlds and a great spectator sport, though I'm not sure I'd
>enjoy being in the same room as him). I kind of like sorting the
>characters into types and watching how they evolve throughout the books -
>like, Grundo and Roddy's relationship in MC seems to me to be a rewrite or
>reconfiguration of Gwendolen & Cat's in CL, so each casts light on the
>other in interesting ways. (And my gf, who was recently sulking over how
>Janet gets pulled out of her family in CL, decided that Vivian's
>experiences in Tale of Time City were a rewrite of *that* motif and
>cheered up.)

You forgot the Awful Boyfriend - verified as spot-on by a few of us! 
:)  This is reminding me of the talk DWJ gave here in Dublin, in 
which the real revelation was that some characters were based on one 
'real' person - split into different characters (in different books 
IIRC).  <waves vigourously in Dorian's direction>  Dorian - do you 
have your post of that talk and could you elaborate or correct my 
memory of this?  My computer died since so I haven't got it.

>That 'ordinary but terrible' combination is crucial for me. She neither
>pulls her punches nor over-purples them (can you purple a punch? Oh well),
>either of which is something that drives me up the wall in fiction - using
>terrible events to up the emotional ante in a sort of pornographic way,
>without facing the mundane and unpretty consequences (okay, sometimes I
>like a good melodrama, but it has to be sort of "out" as melodrama, not
>posing as realistic). I have the feeling that people (both children and
>adults) who already know that bad things happen will get more comfort from
>DWJ than from most children's writers, who keep the bad things at a
>distance.

And she said it herself, didn't she, through Nick's answer about his 
mother in the Upper Room?  The analogy of the boil: 'and it kept 
running and felt horrible, but the pain was a much better sort of 
pain, even though it went on for a long time and I've still got quite 
a mark.'

>  Um,
>otherwise, a fairly arbitrary selection of the YA writers I read: Anne
>Fine, Cynthia Voigt (she's another writer where you can have fun watching
the development of a "type":

And another one who faces really hard things head-on!  I'm a fan of 
the Tillerman books (most of them, haven't read them all) - and aside 
from the inadequate or abusive parents, there's Maybeth as well.  She 
breaks my heart every time, and I'm convinced (on no evidence mind), 
that Voigt based  her on a student she encountered while teaching. 
Yay, another Cynthia Voigt fan.

Belated welcome from me too, Ika!

Hallie.

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