Sunday, March 30, 2014

DWJ: Wrapup Post and Changeover

Well, fooey.  I love DWJ Month but I run out of energy right at the same time.  I feel sad that I didn't participate as much as I wanted to, and yet I couldn't seem to just do it.   So once again I'm going to post several things in order to catch up a bit:


The Dalemark Quartet:  Oh, how I love Dalemark.  It is just about my favorite place, especially in Spellcoats and The Crown of Dalemark.  I love the green roads and the strange Undying who aren't gods unless they are bound.

The Homeward Bounders: I think this might be the single saddest DWJ book.  I reviewed it a year or so ago.  Go ahead and take a look.

Black Maria: This is a fantastic one.  I love it.  I love the punning title too.  (In the US it's Aunt Maria, which isn't nearly so good.)  Aunt Maria is one of the scariest villains in DWJ, I think.  Like Tanaqui in Spellcoats, Mig only starts to understand what is happening when she writes it all down and then reads it over again.

The Game: It's only a novella but there's a lot crammed in there.  Hailey's grandmother keeps her penned in until she does something so awful (says Grandmother) that she is sent away to live with relatives.  Here, her life suddenly opens up and Hailey finds that nothing is as she thought.  DWJ has herself a ball playing with mythology, and it really is wonderful fun.


And now, Changeover.  I did my best to read it really slowly and draw it out.  Changeover is DWJ's first published novel, from 1970, and it is not a fantasy or a children's book; it's a comedy for adults.  The African nation of Nkwami is changing from a British colony to an independent country, and suddenly everyone is worried about the anarchist/communist terrorist Mark Changeover, who is planning to disrupt the ceremonies with a bomb. Everything gets more and more confused and complicated (American soldiers intent on the Cold War!  Bored young socialites!  A cobbler, discontented students, and a nightclub!)  until a crisis point is hit.   DWJ pokes fun at bureaucracy, politics, the military, and everyone else in her send-up of a colonial transfer.  No one could call this politically correct in the modern sense, but it sure is a lot of fun.

It's interesting to read a book by DWJ written before she developed what I think of as trademark DWJ characteristics.  Some of them are there, and every so often you catch a glimpse of a familiar voice, but a lot of it doesn't 'feel' like DWJ.



I do so love DWJ Month.  Thanks to everyone who posted so much more often than I did; it was fun to read!  And thanks most of all to Kristen, who hosts.   I hope we can do it again next year.


2 comments:

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Poor old Jamie in Homeward Bounders. I am feeling sad thinking about that right now. Still, it's one of my favorites. I am thinking more and more that Joris is my favorite character in all of Diana Wynne Jones.

Kristen M. said...

I reread Homeward Bounders this year too for the first time and I had completely forgotten about Jamie and the ending so I was sad all over again.

I'm glad that you participated as much as you did! And, as you can see, as soon as the month ended, I took a bit of offline time to recover. It was a fantastic event but it used up all my reading and blogging energy! Don't worry -- I'll be fully recovered by next year. ;)