Saturday, March 26, 2011
Appreciation of Diana Wynne Jones
I only discovered Diana Wynne Jones recently, and I'm deeply saddened to have already lost her. A few months ago I wrote about Howl's Moving Castle on Operation Awesome, one of my favorite books I read last year and all time. I don't think she's been as well appreciated in the United States as elsewhere around the world, so every reader who found her felt that she was their own discovery. I was no different -- Sophie and Howl were a revelation. The work filled a hole in my heart I didn't know was there.
A few months later, one of my beta readers commented that my newly completed novel reminded her of Diana Wynne Jones, circa her first book, Witch's Business, but in an American voice. I actually cried. It was one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me. If only it were true and that my career would be a shadow of hers!
I've since read another five Jones novels, and I have a long way to go to work my way through her canon. Amazing to me is that her most recent novel, Enchanted Glass, written while she was ill, is one of my very favorites -- a mature, satirical work that asks a lot of young readers and gives more back. The world needs more books like those of Diana Wynne Jones. Until then, we have the ones she left us.