[DWJ] Survey Part 3: Mahy

Emma Comerford emmaco at tpg.com.au
Thu Mar 30 16:51:55 EST 2006

At 06:45 AM 31/03/2006, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:
>>  >>Writer who most reminds me of DWJ: Margaret Mahy
>>>I agree heartily with this mystery person's opinion.
>>I'd be interested to hear why they are similar.  The only Mahy I have read
>>is the Catalogue of the Universe, which I didn't enjoy much, and certainly
>>didn't live up to what I was expecting from the title.  Which are like
>I'm sort of on the fence on this one, as I can see logically why Ros and 
>others say this, and find it very interesting, but don't find it resonates 
>for me completely.  I really didn't like The Catalogue of the Universe at 
>all (except for the story it wasn't - the mother's). Just to build on what 
>people have already said (and said better), for me Changeover is probably 
>most DWJ-ish, in its mix of a very well-done realist drama (even 'a broken 
>home') and very cool magic, which both enhances the coming-into-your-own 
>teen story and is much more than just a metaphor for that.  (Charlie - a 
>one paragraph summary of your essay would be great here - as you've 
>nothing else to do with your time.  ;) )
>Laura is also a *much* more likeable protagonist than the one in 
>Catalogue, and Sorry - well, I was thinking this afternoon that he's a 
>more romantic hero than any DWJ has done even - completely forgetting Howl 
>(as I don't swoon over him at all)!  He's trying so hard to be Byronic 
>bad-ass, and it's touching and often very funny.
>I'm floundering instead of just saying that not liking Catalogue should 
>definitely not put you off trying other Mahy - my vote being for 
>Changeover - or Alchemy as second-choice.  But for me, (personal) best DWJ 
>beats best (YA) Mahy, for all I've a terrible time saying why.

As much as I adore Catalogue, I wouldn't call it similar to DWJ either. I'd 
try (like Hallie said) "Changeover", or "The tricksters "or "The haunting".

I think Mahy does better short stories than DWJ and highly recommend the 
collection "The door in the air and other stories".


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