[DWJ] DWJ article

Joe oddenda at gmail.com
Sat Dec 22 19:14:09 EST 2007

On 21 Dec 2007, at 07:29, Farah Mendlesohn wrote:

> On 21/12/2007, Paul Andinach <pandinac at ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au> wrote:
>> On Thu, 20 Dec 2007, Minnow wrote:
>>> Most of DWJ's older women in authority are rather odious, or at best
>>> uncaring and unobservant, I suspect.  Art following life -- except
>>> that DWJ herself is *nothing* like that.
>> (I was going to point out that there are un-odious older women in DWJ
>> - Polly's Granny and Mrs Smith were the first two to come to mind -
>> but none of them are obviously in authority, either.)

And then Farah wrote:

> There is a change from Dark Lord of Derholm onward. In this book we 
> get a
> nice mother, and a nice sorcereress (even if she does need a cup of 
> tea).

That wouldn't be Querida, would it? I don't think she'd like being 
called "nice".

> After this book mothers can be overly distracted (as in Conrad's Fate) 
> but
> we don't get the kind of dereliction of duty we see in earler books. 
> The
> mother in Conrad's Fate strikes me asa kindlier version of Phyllis in 
> Time
> of the Ghost, a more adult understanding perhaps of the autonomy of 
> one's
> parents.

I've just finished Black Maria (much more enjoyable than I remember, 
and yes, more complex; I'm still processing it), and I'm surprised to 
find that the mother is one of the most positive, warm mothers in any 
of DWJ's books. Not what I remember at all. Her dereliction of duty 
only comes from being over-polite and the victim of a terrible spell. 
And when she snaps out of it she's magnificent, banging the dreadful 
Phyllis Forbes's head off the doorframe and so on.

Catriona's a lovely mother too, I think.


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