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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015/01: Tam Lin -- Pamela Dean (reread)

... the flaw of the novel-reader is to want to know what will happen if a situation is allowed to develop unmolested. [p. 190]

Reread of an old favourite. When I discovered this novel (my review at the time is here) it made me terribly nostalgic for an academic life I'd never really had. Now I can see flaws, for instance in the pacing. There are too many blow-by-blow accounts of plays, classes etc: meanwhile, whole months are elided. (Though the unevenness of time passing may have something to do with the uncanny presences at Blackstock.)

And Janet's inaction -- again, perhaps not wholly Janet's -- irked me this time around. On the other hand, she's a novel-reader, and the quotation above describes her fatal flaw.

Lastly, while I'm nit-picking, this 1992 Tor paperback has one of the most aggravating fonts I've encountered: it's almost impossible to distinguish a semi-colon (Dean is as fond of these as I am) from a comma, which makes a great deal of the novel read as stream-of-consciousness run-on sentences instead of the measured phrases intended by the author.

Still a delightful book, though. I shall be back in another 15 or 20 years to reread again.