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

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Tue Jan 2 12:11:55 EST 2007

> 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*.)

There is something unsettling about Permanent Rose, and for me it's 
unsettling because we all know things aren't really all right, they have 
just shifted back to good in places that are really important, while the 
ice has visibly cracked in other places.

What I find interesting in the ending is how the Cassons' background is 
clearly shown to feed into the dilemma. Because certain people are 
unreliable but one is supposed to act like they aren't, the Cassons 
draw certain conclusions about a situation that are unfounded. At the 
same time, other things come to a head in a way that makes perfect sense 
if you've been there-- where your cynicism about someone turns out to be 
fully justified, and yet you still care about that person. The angst of 
that feeling isn't really handled in the book though. (On the other 
hand, that would take an entire other book to portray.)

> *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...

Yeah, I think I see where you're coming from. When you know the author 
isn't going to pull punches you trust them more.

One of the things that makes it hard for me to re-read Fire & Hemlock is
that I can't tell whether the bits in the center, where people who we
are led to believe care about Polly are completely oblivious, like Gran. 
The level of denial there from a caring adult is much more than I can
believe in. The only way I can make that work is to go with an
Edward-Eager-esque magic-induced mental block, and I have a terrible
time figuring out what is meant to be real and what merely magical
hallucination. And, for me, that's a very unsettling idea even though 
it's an interesting concept.

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net 
"History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it screams
'Why don't you ever listen to me?' and lets fly with a club."

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