Thumbs up for Among Others by Jo Walton. Fantasy.
Utterly lovely. This is one of those books that lights up a big glowy spot in your head that you keep looking at after you’re done reading, and smile. Mori, the young woman narrator, is a real, three-dimensional person, with whom I would happily be friends; she is human and believable, while at the same time being emotionally and mentally mature, as characters in books so rarely are. (Not surprising: She has, after all, been educated by the great books of science fiction, which wonderfully continue to be her touchstone throughout.) This is a fantasy novel – Mori’s mother is an evil witch, whose magic has killed Mori’s twin and crippled Mori – but the magical element is so believably intertwined with the very real world of late 70’s England and Wales that it feels like a novel-that-just-happens-to-have-magic-in-it rather than a fantasy novel. It’s also a praise song to the act of reading, and how our lives are changed by books. I would highly recommend this to anyone – science fiction/fantasy reader or not – who likes stories driven by strong characters, and anyone who is passionate about reading.
Think of this as a memoir. Think of it as one of those memoirs that’s later discredited to everyone’s horror because the writer lied and is revealed to be a different colour, gender, class and creed from the way they’d made everybody think. I have the opposite problem. I have to keep fighting to stop making myself sound more normal. Fiction’s nice. Fiction lets you select and simplify. This isn’t a nice story, and this isn’t an easy story. But this is a story about fairies, so feel free to think of it as a fairy story. It’s not like you’d believe it anyway.
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