Friday, November 07, 2008

Great geniuses of literature

I have just had a great treat, namely rereading the first two volumes of Jo Walton's Farthing trilogy in preparation for a delightful light-readingish wallow in the third. The books are Farthing, Ha'penny and Half a Crown. (Previous Light Reading discussions here.)

These really are the perfect books - the obvious comparisons are to recent literary WWII-related alternate histories by Philip Roth and Michael Chabon, but they are so beautifully inflected with the whys and wherefores of some of my utter longtime favorites that reading them is like being magically given fresh new books by writers I have reread almost to death (Josephine Tey, Dorothy L. Sayers, Peter Dickinson). I think the first book in the trilogy is still my favorite, but these books are just delightful...

(Attentive readers will note that Walton includes, in this final volume, the gym shoes with rosettes from Miss Pym Disposes! And a number of other nods to other fictions of the time - I was thinking in particular, at the end, of Scott's Heart of Midlothian...)

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