Sometimes storms come up and they destroy the lives we've known. If we're lucky, they wash us up onto a good sandy beach on an island where we can fi Sometimes storms come up and they destroy the lives we've known. If we're lucky, they wash us up onto a good sandy beach on an island where we can find food, shelter, water, and some new people to befriend. If we're really lucky, they will reveal a magnificent hotel that has a library and a theater and a ballroom and a well-stocked larder overseen by a talented cook. Emma was really lucky.It is possible to enjoy this story on a straightforward literal level. It is an adventure story with pirates and ghosts and a marvelous treasure hunt. It is also possible to enjoy this story on a metaphorical level, along side such recent favorites of mine as Nation andThe Lost Conspiracy. Unlike the Narnia books, all these children discover salvation within themselves, through what they do, rather than embodied in some external force. For older, perhaps more cynical or at least, more sarcastic readers, add Beauty Queens to the mix. Collectively these are the anti-Lord of the Flies.Marvelous. I can't recommend it enough. Go read it right now. And then read those others, if you haven't already. At any rate, keep them in mind for when you need some Utopian reading that isn't stupid.One last note: fans of The Invention of Hugo Cabret will appreciate the shout-out to the work of Méliès.
Wordless books are hard. Way hard. I'm not sure how much an actual child would like it, but time- traveling into a Shakespearean performance and havinWordless books are hard. Way hard. I'm not sure how much an actual child would like it, but time- traveling into a Shakespearean performance and having an adventure running around Elizabethan London with a bear delights me.
2016 July 14 I love these books so much. Stories about women in wartime are catnip to me. But this book, in which the daily struggle to keep calm and c2016 July 14 I love these books so much. Stories about women in wartime are catnip to me. But this book, in which the daily struggle to keep calm and carry on is so hard for Britons: it gives me all the feels, but also hope for humanity. 2013 January 1 2010 March 14
It was everything I could do not to start this so far ahead of its proper turn in the stack. Just saying.
My, what a big book. But such an enormous pleasure. Much of the time, after turning the last page on a 500 page book, and discovering a note saying: hey, you'll have to read the next book to find out what happens, I'd be slightly vexed. Here, the only disappointment is that I'll have to wait six months.
Willis uses the device of time-travel so effectively, she's made it her own. It enables her to address modern sensibilities and issues, as well as to enter into the mindset of a given period. In fact, time travel exists in order to permit her characters to really understand a time, and the people who lived through it, as fully human. The historians start out with some information, but with a great deal of distance. She won't let them leave until they really become an active part of the time they're visiting.
In this book she sends historians back to Britain in WWII. One guy is a jerk, the other isn't, the gals are pretty nearly indistinguishable. But trapped in their assignments they become Britons fighting the war, and they become distinct individuals as well.
I've said before that Willis is the master of writing bureaucratic muddle. She can turn it to comic effect, as in To Say Nothing of the Dog, or she can use it to heighten the drama and add poignancy, as in Passage. Here, she does both. And the net effect is to take the accounts of survivors and pull them together into an engrossing and coherent narrative. Blackout, together with All Clear, is going to be one of the most memorable novels of WWII that I've ever read. ...more