Fire and Hemlock
A photograph called "Fire and Hemlock" that has been on the wall since her childhood. A story in a book of supernatural stories -- had Polly read it before under a different title? Polly, packing to return to college, is distracted by picture and story, clues from the past stirring memories. But why should she suddenly have memories that do not seem to correspond to the fa...more
I really wish I could read anything now that would give me the kind of experience I had as a child reading Ms. Jones's boo...more
This novel is just so... damn uncomfortable. It's hard to pinpoint why it reminds me of two androgenous ballet dancers having a suspended representational sex/dance off while a Japanese man humps his way to oblivion, some things are just beyond the realm of human expression.
The easy answer would be to yell, "Pervert!" and run...more
For DWJ's thoughts on her book, read her essay on heroics in Fire & Hemlock. I rehash lots of what she says there.
Right after finishing the book I was just really frustrated – the ending made my face screw and I just had to throw the book god-knows-where (I'm sorry, Tom, the poor book was pr...more
I liked both Tom and Polly, and I enjoyed the book, but I had a lot of problems with it.
My chief problem was: I have a ten-year-old daughter, and my suspension of disbelief, which handled all the magic stuff without difficulty, totally choked on the idea that anyone (even people as irresponsible and immature as Polly's paren...more
Polly is a great character. When the book opens she's nineteen, but for the majority of the book, she's ten (and then slowly grows up). Terribly precocious, slightl...more
If you don't know Thomas the Rhymer or Tam Lin, The Golden Bough, Eas...more
I do, however, have to admit that I did not get what was going on the first read through. It was a very difficult plot, obstructed with all those layers I just mentione...more
I actually first read this as a teen and had some wonderful memories of it, which were mostly reinforced this second time around. I still am awed by Diana Wynne Jones's storytelling. She is peerless in the fantasy realm as far as I'm concerned. There are some books you read and re-read so...more
When I picked this one up at Powell's, I'd forgotten that it was a Tam Lin retelling. And really, you could read most of the book before you realize it - the beginning of the book has a very su...more
I remember this as being the catalyst that set me off to find out more about Thomas the Rhymer and Tam Lin, so it was very interesting to read it nearly 20 years later and from the other side, with the ballads well established in my head. It let me pi...more
I found the first half of this book fairly boring, because it was just sort of chill, and when magic did happen, it seemed dark, or accidental, and all sorts of threats were made, but I wasn't sure any were ever going to be carried out really. Then the ending confused me, and I had to read it a few times to gr...more
1. The character observation is almost Austen-ish in its subtlety, accuracy, and often humor. And I love the heroine, Polly, stubborn, sometimes clueless, and always brave.
2. The plot is all-absorbing, every detail worked out, no sloppy holes to interrupt its tapestry. And it's a great story, a story of adventure and love.
3. Despite this, nothing is overstated. DWJ doesn't feel the need to use any anvil-weight explanations. She assumes her...more
For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/aut...