[DWJ] RE: Survey: Mahy

Charles Butler charlescbutler at btinternet.com
Thu Mar 30 09:13:07 EST 2006

Has anyone in NZ or Oz yet read Kataingata Twitch, Mahy's latest? (Not sure about the spelling there.) If so, is it good?

I too put MM down as a favourite, and I do agree that there's *something* there that links her with DWJ - or at least some DWJ. Part of it is a kind of energy, or abundance, the fact that they have so many ideas that they don't need to hoard them up and let them out in a drip-drip niggardly way. First time I read *The Changeover* I was struck by that - the way she says to her mother, 'Sorry Carlisle is a witch,' on about page three, when most authors would save up a revelation like that for at least a couple of chapters! I'm guessing too that Sorry is the kind of vulnerable-tricksy hero that those who swooned over Howl might like imagine themselves taking in hand. And then, the way Mahy plays with complex and tonally rich (like a good Burgundy!) segues between the mundane and the supernatural have something a bit F&H-ish to them, at least in the books such as Changeover and The Tricksters that were written around the same time.
  There are signficant differences too, though. I think DWJ is a much more controlled writer stylistically. Mahy is clearly intoxicated with language and wordplay, and while that can often be exhilarating it can sometimes spill over into a kind of archness. On the other hand, Mahy has written more substantially across the age ranges, and not just in the fantasy genre - so she scores there.
  I'm very pleased about the Hans Andersen award, anyway.

Roslyn <rosgross at bigpond.net.au> wrote:

<< I wasn't the person who compared DWJ to Mahy, but I agree that they have
similarities. For me, it's the... texture? of the worlds they create,
the telling details that make them seem real. And non-gormless


I'm the one who said that Mahy is the writer who most reminded me of DWJ, 
and I think you've expressed it very well! There is also a sort of 
fellow-feeling about their themes.

With the caveat that I've only read two of Mahy's books (IIRC), I do think 
that Mahy's writing feels less out-and-out accomplished than DWJ's. DWJ's 
plots are much more complex and masterful (not to say convoluted), and the 
characters aren't so distinctive (for example, in the two novels, the female 
characters have kind of merged in my mind, as have the male characters and 
the villains). But there is a DWJ "feel" about the Mahy I've read so far.

I do need to read more Mahy! She's coming to Australia next year (2007) for 
the Natcon. And the first episode of "Maddigan's Quest" is on TV on Friday 
on Channel 9, at 4 PM...(Thanks for that, Jon! I checked and it's on!)


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