No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

#60: Conrad's Fate -- Diana Wynne Jones

This book was the perfect antidote to a day spent travelling, hearing bad news and visiting my father, who's ill.

It's a Chrestomanci novel -- chronologically somewhere after The Lives of Christopher Chant, and geographically somewhere in Series Seven; it's set in the English Alps, mainly in Stallery Hall where the universe seems to shift randomly, and 12-year-old Conrad Tesdenic finds himself looking into other realities where the Hall is a ruin, or a castle of glass, or an Escher-esque maze.

He's there as part of a plan to redeem his Fate, or karma, by taking care of some business that he neglected in a previous life. According to his uncle, anyway: his mother, busy writing feminist tracts in her room, doesn't seem too concerned. Conrad has to bear his guilty secret alone: but his colleague, Christopher, has secrets too. He's searching for his friend Millie, who's run away from her exclusive Swiss finishing school. And there are strange goings-on, and romantic intrigues, and arranged marriages, and all sorts of delightful drama.

I read this in rather an odd frame of mind, so it hasn't really fallen into place yet: oh, happy endings for those who deserve them, and the usual DWJ wit and whimsy. (When did 'whimsy' become an insult? I certainly don't mean it as one.) Shall no doubt reread at some stage, and hopefully with more clarity of thought. Very enjoyable, though: like the spell in C S Lewis' 'Narnia' series that's a story that you read to restore a happy frame of mind.

reposted here from LJ in order to keep all my reviews in one place

No comments:

Post a Comment