Wednesday, December 04, 2013


This is the book I wish I could have in my hands right now: The Islands of Chaldea, left incomplete by Diana Wynne Jones when she died and completed by her sister Ursula Jones.
Picking up where her sister left off was an "odd journey", said Jones. "Diana was very much my eldest sister, and I was very much aware of a fury from her, either that I was doing it, or that I was not doing it fast enough. I had awful nightmares about it. It was curiously traumatic," she said. "I was conscious of her looking over my shoulder in many different ways. To start with, there was this disturbing feeling of fury. Then once I'd got under way there was almost a moment of rather grumpy 'oh all right then'. I'm not a believer in any of this sort of thing but I tell you it was palpable, and quite uncanny.

"Then it went ahead very easily. I did notice I was moving things around and changing structures or settings almost at her prompting, possibly because I knew how to get right inside the book at that stage. I certainly managed to erase my style."

And writing the last sentence, she said, "was an unbearable second parting from her: as if she had died again".

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