Thursday, April 19, 2007

Playing the Game

I've just finished Diana Wynne Jones's latest book, and of course it was wonderful. She has a way of writing the most outrageous stories that makes them seem perfectly reasonable and believable. I love that about her. She always manages to surprise me, and I just love sitting back and enjoying the ride, wherever it ends up taking me.

Our heroine is Hayley, an orphan who lives with her humorless grandmother and kind but distant grandfather. Her uneventful life is bound by countless rules and restrictions, and it isn't until she is banished to her relatives' house in Ireland that she realizes how very circumscribed and dull her life has been. Her many cousins introduce her to their favorite pastime during family holidays, something called, simply, "the game." Through the game, Hayley discovers a whole new reality, amazing and wonderful things she had only begun to suspect were out there. But the game is expressly forbidden to the children, and it has consequences that may put an end to all the wonderful things Hayley has only begun to explore.

In this book Jones uses Greek mythology in a wonderful way and, as usual, she doesn't pull any punches with literary allusions. This is exactly the kind of book that sent me scurrying, as a child, to find out more about mythology and astronomy (not to mention astrology). I would go read everything I could, find out about the background stories mentioned in the book -- and then I'd go back and read The Game all over again, just so I wouldn't miss out on any of the references and allusions.

Well, now I'm stuck waiting for Diana Wynne Jones to publish another book. I did read on her website that the magician Howl, from Howl's Moving Castle (also a wonderful film by Hayao Miyazaki), will appear in her next book. So I'll have that to look forward to. In the meantime, I might have to go back and re-read some of her old ones. Rebekka mentioned that Deep Secret is her favorite DWJ book, and I read that so long ago I can barely remember it. That will be next on my DWJ list!

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones (Firebird, 2007)


  1. Is this sci-fi or fantasy?

    Have you read the fourth sisterhood book yet? Any good?

  2. It's definitely fantasy - it deals with stars and planets in a Greek & Roman mythology sort of way, along with those myths in general.

    Yes, I liked the 4th sisterhood book - it was a good wrap-up to the series. I'm surprised you haven't read it yet!

  3. Oooh another book about Howl. I liked Howl, he was somehow very sexy.

  4. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one to get crushes on fictional characters!


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