[DWJ] Titles (was London Meet)

Kyra Jucovy klj at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Tue Jun 13 11:47:07 EDT 2006

On Tue, 13 Jun 2006, Rowland, Jennifer A B wrote:

> > Margaret Ball writes:
> > >> The feeling it gives me is not so much "Let's be done with
> > >> this" as "OMG, I've written 450 pp and haven't started on the plot
> yet."
> Sallyo wrote:
> > Exactly. All that leisurely set up for what should have been
> > a huge climax... and it all just slips by in a few pages.
> > Wha'???
> *cough*DWJ*cough*...
> (though yes, I do find the climax to Tam Lin isn't as... climaxy... as
> DWJ's fast-paced endings.) Actually, having been to a farce this week,
> maybe DWJ's endings are quite like that- setup, setup, setup, moving
> faster and faster until it's wound up as hard as it can get and
> everything has to explode at once. Then maybe one more scene to tidy up
> the loose ends and you're out of the theatre with your head buzzing.
> Jennifer

If I bothered to go and look on the Internet, I could probably find my
archived post from back when I first read _Tam Lin_ in which I pointed out
how disappointing the ending was particularly in comparison with F&H's
ending (which, in the past, I'd always been just as confused by as
everyone else).  I see a real difference between Pam Dean's endings, in
both _Tam Lin_ and _Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary_, which is the other of
her books I read after really liking _Tam Lin_, and DWJ's endings.

The thing with Pam Dean's endings is that reading her books is a really
great experience.  You have all this stuff going on, and it's all spooky
and numinous and seems quite profound, and you don't know quite what's
going to turn out to be going on.  And then, in both cases, not only is
there a rushed ending, but, and this is the key difference from DWJ, the
explanations you get are exactly the most banal, predictable possible
explanation for the events of the story.  If you had asked me a third of
the way through either book, to explain what was going on, and had
insisted that I say despite the fact that everything seemed so spooky and
numinous and profound, I probably could have succesfully predicted most of
the endings.  And the things I couldn't have predicted were things that
simply never got explained.  Say what you will about DWJ - I'm better
now at predicting where she's headed than I was as a child, but, still,
she is rarely entirely predictable and often quite surprising.  And, while
she doesn't explain everything, I always feel like the clues for the
inexplicable stuff are there.  With Pam Dean, I just felt that she was
dropping threads in order to make her story more banal.  And I also felt
like she was imaginative and creative enough to come up with something
more surprising that what she did come up with.

Also, I still don't get the part where Gentian's kind, loving father
decides that he shouldn't help his daughter get out of the spell of
someone who's heavily implied to be the Devil simply because he thinks it
would be a good maturing experience for her to escape herself.  Huh?


"I wish that I could sing. / I'd stay in a melody. / I would float along
in my everlasting song."
			---Stuart Murdoch, "Act of the Apostle, Part 1"

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