Jennifer's Reviews > Among Others

Among Others by Jo Walton
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Dec 07, 11

bookshelves: literary-sf-fantasy
Read on December 07, 2011

Loved. This. Book.

It's the first book I've read on my Kindle that I wish I'd read in print -- not only because I want to pass my copy around to everyone I know, but also because the book itself is so much about reading, about books, and about talking about books.

It takes place in Wales and England in 1979/1980, and the main character is a SF/Fantasy reader. The book is in the form of her journal, and many of the entries are about the books she reads -- lots of references to LeGuin, Tiptree Jr., Heinlin, Delaney, and Douglas Adams, among many many others. If you've read any of those books, you'll love hearing what the narrator has to say about them.

The narrator also can see fairies, and reveals fairly early on that her mother is a witch -- a mad witch. The narrator has worked with the fairies to stop her mother from performing a particularly evil spell, and in doing so has suffered terrible consequences -- and all this happens even before the book begins!

The book really presses the overlap between science fiction and fantasy -- between the magical and the industrial. Fairies tend to live in the ruins of old factories and ironworks that have grown over and returned to forest, "the crumbling relics of industry," a fact which the narrator only really appreciates later in life; she says, "We thought we were living in a fantasy landscape when actually we were living in a science fictional one." But it also is a book about growing up -- and accepting growing up -- while not abandoning what defined you in your youth. It's about appreciating the mystery of the world while still living absolutely IN the world as it is.
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willaful I know just what you mean, I felt weird reading it on a kindle too! But I did read much it kind of under the covers with a flashlight, so that's something. ;-)


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