[DWJ] Best Books of 2006 (complete with silly categories, and much longer than it should be )

Ika Willis blake at gaudaprime.co.uk
Tue Jan 2 11:51:51 EST 2007

Hallie wrote:

> Thanks for that really wonderful reply, Ika.  It'll probably be
> simmering for a while, but if I don't respond at least partially now,
> I'll never manage to concentrate on what I *should* be reading this
> afternoon.

Oh, ditto! Thanks in particular for the *F&H* comparison, because I think
I've cited the Bristol bit, where Polly gets thrown out of the flat, as the
single incident that makes the book worthwhile for me - I love it, and I'm
completely convinced that it happened to me (even though it didn't,
technically, it's just an awesome metaphor for a less-extreme thing that
*did* happen to me. Friends who had in-some-ways comparably unsafe family
spaces hate that moment in *F&H*, though), so that's helped me start
crystallizing a response - because what that comparison brings up for me
is the idea of ruthlessness. I just don't think the Casson family stories
are ruthless,* and the Bristol Incident in *F&H* totally is. And I feel much
safer in ruthless books, because non-ruthless books make me feel anxious,
like 'But this writer seems not to *know* that bad things might happen! She
seems to think that it will be all right in the end, and sometimes it
isn't!' Whereas if I get a decent sense of ruthlessness, I can relax, like
'Oh, okay. So if it comes right in *this* book, that means it *really* comes
right, because there's no cheating.'

I need to keep thinking about this (and probably reread *Permanent Rose*,
actually - I did like *Indigo's Star* a lot, and I think I did find that one
ruthless enough. It may be that there's something else I find slightly
lacking in *PR*, and that I'm just seizing on DWJ's review because it also
identifies a lack - but I'm not sure, the more I think about it, how much I
agree with her about exactly what the lack *is*.)

Love, Ika

*I'd be interested to see if the idea of ruthlessness rang any bells for
you, too, Jadwiga - it resonated faintly with your post, for me, but I'm
still thinking about the things that you said...

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