[DWJ] New Introduction

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Thu Jan 1 05:55:45 EST 2009


Thank you!

2009/1/1 Gili Bar-Hillel <gbhillel at netvision.net.il>

> Farah asked:
>
> > Any chance of an English language summary, Gilli?
>
> Alright then. The readers of my website would probably not have known that
> Ursula and Diana are sisters, or be familiar with Diana's autobiography
> from
> her official website ( http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/autobiog.htm ) so
> much of what I wrote was just pointing out that there is a connection. For
> all I know Ursula might have quite a different take on her childhood, but
> the few words of introduction at the opening of her book seem to
> corroborate
> rather than mitigate Diana's descriptions: they both even make reference to
> the same incident in which Isobel was almost hung by accident as part of a
> game. And I described a little of the atmosphere of "Time of the Ghost",
> for
> which Diana drew on many of the same childhood memories of the three girls
> left to their own devices, getting into loads of trouble and feeling all
> but
> abandoned by their parents.
>
> In Isobel's book (spoiler alert), the three witch's children go off to
> visit
> the park, without their mum. All the squirrels and pigeons run and hide.
> This resonates with Diana's memories of being considered a terrible trouble
> maker. They then try to help a little girl rescue her toy boat from the
> pond, by turning her into a frog, but they can't turn her back, so they
> complicate the situation even further with more undoable magic. Up to this
> point the littlest sister (Ursula was the youngest of her sisters) only
> observed and laughed, but finally she steps in to help, using the only
> "magic spell" she knows, which is to yell at the top of her breath for mum.
> The witch then appears, Deus ex Machina, and sets everything straight.
>
> I found the book sad because, judging by Diana's autobiography, the
> greatest
> fiction in the story was the mum showing up and saving the day. In real
> life
> the Jones' girls knew what it was like to be left to their own devices,
> knew
> what it was like to be ostracised and to get into terrible trouble when
> they
> only meant to be entertaining and helping out, but couldn't rely on their
> mum to come help and support them.
>
> In any case, it is quite a sweet, funny little picture book. My children
> enjoyed it.
>
>
>
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Off Cuts: http://www.farahsf.com/
or
If "men don't read" but "science fiction doesn't sell to women" ... who is
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