Monday, March 06, 2006

The Leap - Jonathan Stroud

I read Jonathan Stroud's The Leap at the weekend as I was curious to read his non-Bartimaeus books. It's a very intense book and one I would be wary of recommending to just anybody as its central protagonist, Charlie (Charlotte), is grieving over the death of her best friend Max whom she failed to rescue from drowning in the local Mill Pond. Charlie doesn't believe Max is dead, but that he's entered a parallel world akin to Faerie, having been invited in by the denizens of the Mill Pond. Charlie starts dreaming that she's following Max through the parallel world, and she strives to catch up with him each night as she sleeps. As a consequence of her interest in catching up with Max she shows little interest in the world around her. Neither her brother James (who provides the second point of view in the story), her mother, or even her psychologist can get through to her. I found this book quite disturbing - but also gripping - the narrative sucked me in to believing that Charlie was right, and that Max was wandering through a parallel world, but as the story built to its climax, I began to share James' anxiety about his sister and to wonder if she was going to survive the end of the book.

There is a spoilerish review of The Leap over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone.

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I also read Diana Wynne Jones' Minor Arcana at the weekend. It's a collection of 6 short stories and one novelette, four are fantasy stories, but two have more of an SF-bent, and the second of those two (nad and Dan adn Quaffy) seemed very akin to Ursula Le Guin. Sadly this collection is out of print, which seems a great shame as I really enjoyed some of the stories, but second hand copies are available.

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J K Rowling has revealed that she will be reading to the Queen from the final Harry Potter book at the Queen's 80th birthday party.

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At least one of the Oscars went to someone for whom I would have voted - Nick Park and Steve Box took the Academy Award for the excellent animated full length film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit. I confess that I'm biased since I've not yet seen either Howl's Moving Castle or Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, but I think I would still have wanted Nick and Steve to win since I've long been a fan of Aardman's work. There's a nice pre-Oscars interview with Nick and Steve on the BBC website.


Anonymous said...

Dear Scholar, I was doing a search for The Leap, and found your site. I am in the middle of reading this book right now, and agree that it's very intense! I loved the Bartimaeus trilogy, and found this to be quite different. Can't wait to get to the end - was glad there were no spoilers in your blog!
-bonni from california

Michele said...

I hope you enjoy the rest of it.