Homeward Bounders (was fire and hemlock people)

Colin Fine colin at kindness.demon.co.uk
Thu Aug 25 11:35:44 EDT 2005

minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
> Colin Fine wrote:
>>Ven wrote:
>>>I think that's spot on. For the most part in AG
>>>the cruelty is incidental. The victimisation of
>>>Howard's family then happens because the siblings
>>>have the specific aim of finding out what it is
>>>that is locking them into the town.
>>But there's also something in the writing which makes AG feel more like
>>a cartoon - even though the threat to the children when they're lured
>>into Shine's den is real enough, it still feels a bit like comic book
> As in Tom and Jerry?  There isn't a feeling that people will *really* be
> hurt, somehow, I agree, even when Ginger turns up walking wounded.  The
> Goon just isn't presented as truly menacing, that's probably a big part of
> it.  Nobody truly menacing could have a crush on Fifi and moon around being
> miserable when she prefers Archer; even when he loses his temper, he still
> isn't going to hurt anyone for real.  Even before that, his deference to
> Catriona marks him as not really a Villain-with-a-capital-V.
>>I've not gone back and reread F&H in a long time - it's not one of my
>>favourites, perhaps because it is too dark for me.
> see below!
>>>For a while after I got it CitA was a big
>>>favourite of mine, read and reread but I also
>>>don't care for it very much at the moment.
>>After I last reread HMC (probably 3 or 4 years ago) I went on to reread
>>CitA and I could not get beyond a couple of pages. I just didn't want to
>>read any further.
> Have you any idea why?  I've tried on and off to work out what it is about
> that book that doesn't catch me -- if that makes sense -- and I can't ever
> pin it down, so I'd welcome suggestions.
>>>Whereas I have a very personal affinity with
>>>Jamie's sense of exile. I also fully understand
>>>that all he ever wants to do is to try to fit in
>>>with where he is, right up to the end when he
>>>realises that is what he never can do.
>>Yes, absolutely. Of all the DWJ books that are my favourite DWJ book, HB
>>is the one that is most often my favourite DWJ book. The combination of
>>that exile with the depth and intricacy of the Hope and Anchor theme
>>appeals to me very much.
> A probably irrelevant note: one of the pubs nearest to DWJ's house is
> called the Hope and Anchor (just opposite the bottom of Constitution Hill,
> for those who know Bristol slightly as opposed to those who are Bristolian
> and probably know the pub anyhow).  I don't know whether it still is, but
> for many years and certainly at the time HB was written the pub sign was a
> picture of a scruffy boy wielding a cricket bat rather too large for him in
> front of a wicket about up to his waist -- or at least that was the
> impression of it that one got as one drove past.
> I mention this as being in some way fitting, given one of the scenes in HB.
> I am boggling slightly about someone who finds F&H "too dark" having HB as
> a favourite favourite-DWJ-book.  Of all of them, I would have said that HB
> and TotG were the two darkest, and the ending of HB is not exactly upbeat,
> whereas in TotG the awful childhood is over and the mother is redeemed so
> nobody (except the dead) is left with nothing to look forward to in the way
> that Jamie is.  Sacrifice for the common good is fine as a one-off (the
> king doesn't have a chance to regret dying for the people: he's dead, and
> can't wish he hadn't done it after that) but spread over centuries it's a
> horribly bleak prospect.  Never to have anyone or anything or any place of
> one's own?  wibble.
> Minnow
> --
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The truth is I haven't reread either of them in a very long time. It may 
be that when I do I will warm to them. I can't honestly remember 
anything at all about TotG.


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