Wednesday, 11 April 2012

J is for Diana Wynne Jones

J

If anyone epitomises the kind of writer I would like to be, it is Diana Wynne Jones.  She combined extreme intelligence, intricate plotting, humour and fantasy in a unique mixture and she did it consistently over four decades.



I found her by accident one summer holiday when the library had a copy of Eight Days of Luke.  It drew some neat parallels between the highly disfunctional Aesir and a modern day Midlands family without being in the slightest bit preachy.  It also made me laugh hugely and sent me out on a marathon hunt for every other book of hers I could find.

Diana died last year and although I happily re-read everything she wrote, I still hate the thought that there will be no more from her.

She was that rare thing - an author who simply did not seem to know how to write badly.  She always makes me laugh, wince and look over my shoulder.  I understand exactly how her characters work and love the worlds she creates.  She's also driven me round the bend trying to follow the ramifications of her plots.   Hexwood  remains a thoroughly enjoyable enigma, to name only one.


Luckily she was prolific as well as consistently good and her bibliography is long.  If you have not encountered her, please try reading some of her work.  If you have, share your favourites.

16 comments:

  1. I love the look of the books already! I'm a sucker for a good cover. Are they all inter-linked? Same characters, etc, or are they each a stand alone book?

    Got me curious, you little minx!

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    1. Ha! Haven't been called a minx in years.

      Think I'll do a follow up post about some of her books as there seems to be some interest

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  2. Believe it or not, I have a very hard time finding fiction I love and, hence, spend nearly all of my reading time in non-fiction, typically science.

    This post makes me want to seek out her work. I actually felt the sadness of her passing reading it. Any particular book you'd recommend to start?

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    1. Follow up post with more about some of the books forthcoming :)

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  3. I have never heard of this book, but now that you've brought her to light, I'm intrigued. I might have to check out some of her work! Nothing better than well imagined fantasy.

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    1. She was mostly published as a children's author, but a lot of her work is not age specific at all. Well-imagined fantasy indeed.

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  4. Her work became more well known through the adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle by Studio Ghibli.

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    1. The film has a lot of charm and does take some elements of the book - although it is just as much Studio Ghibli as Diana.

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  5. I have never heard of this book or author, but you have piqued my interest. Her writing had a lasting and profound effect on you. I am in awe of authors with this ability. One of the greatest joys of becoming a published author must be knowing that your work and your stories will be around long after your death.

    I wanted to also say that some of my favorite authors and/or books were discovered by accident. I am a new follower from the blog challenge.

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    1. Welcome and thank you :)

      Now I think about it, quite a few of mine were accidental finds as well.

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  6. I love her books. I'll admit I haven't read a whole lot of them, but the ones I have I adore.

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    1. So glad to find a fellow fan. Which have you read?

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  7. My favorites are Howl's Moving Castle and The Dark Lord of Derkholm. :)


    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

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    1. Welcome :) Dark Lord makes me laugh hysterically (vicious sheep) and I want to slap Howl, because as Sophie realises, he's basically a toddler.

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  8. I actually haven't read any of her work, but that will change.

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    1. Let me know if you enjoy her work :)

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