Saturday, March 12, 2005

It's mystifying...

I was about to blog about how pleased I was to read a full review in the children's book section of the NYTBR of Eva Ibbotson's The Star of Kazan, a book I bought in England last summer and devoured at one sitting. But I am perplexed to find that the review is nowhere on the Times website! A mystery...

Ibbotson's written a number of books for younger children, and they are lovely too, but this one and Journey to the River Sea are both as satisfying as adult novels. I really love Ibbotson's fiction, and am more broadly puzzled by the fact that her novels for adults aren't more widely read here. I found them in the public library in Cambridge in the early 90s and read them again and again, they are so delightful. But I don't think any of them have been published in paperback here. Some public-spirited publisher should bring them all out here in trade paperback and reap the reward in terms of $$$... these books are really fantastically good. (A Song for Summer does seem to be available, but not Magic Flutes or The Morning Gift or The Countess Below Stairs or A Company of Swans, which are all absolute favorites.) They're the best sort of romantic wish-fulfillment fiction, written with great intelligence and an excellent sense of humor, and the characters are particularly lovable and appealing. Highly literate and remarkably enjoyable pleasure reading; imagine Georgette Heyer rewritten by Neil Gaiman and all set in this lovely pre-war Europe steeped in Mozart and Strauss and scientists dissecting worms and progressive educationalists and suffragettes and you will have some idea. She has a very light touch--a bit like Diana Wynne Jones--or really good European pastry... Seriously, if this kind of thing appeals to you at all, try and get them from your local public library and read them... you will not regret it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jenny!

    Although I had never heard of Ibbotson before, the NYT review did whet my appetite, and I've ordered her latest book. I quite enjoyed your take on Ibbotson's other books and will try to track them down as well. Thanks for the tips!

    Margaret from