Saturday, October 9

Enchanted Glass - Diana Wynne Jones

Andrew Hope had always dimmly know his grandfather was a magician, but he'd never really thought about what would happen to his home and, more importantly, his field of care after the old man died. So it came as something of a shock when he sees his grandfather in the middle of the road, clearly no longer in this world and flags his down with a wax-sealed document. And thus Andrew left his life of academia and entered a village that, though apparently normal on the surface, is filled with eccentric characters, giant marrows, fetes, things that go bump in the night, and the unrelated Stocks who tended not unkindly to his grandfather, in their way. Most of all there's young Aidan Cain, an orphan fleeing a large, supportive but impersonal foster home. Aidan came looking for Jocelyn and was most distressed to learn that the old man had died, so Andrew took the boy under his wing. It was as they were tracing the perimeter of Andrew's field of care (the boarder between it and normal space almost fizzles when walked through), Andrew discovers a barbed wire fence running through a copse on his grounds - a fence that, to add rather insult to injuy, is also patrolled by a vicious groundsman and an equal unfriendly dog.
As is her wont, Jones has used tales and elements from folklore and fairytales to frame her thoroughly original story - in this case the fairy king Oberon, his consort Titania, and trickster Puck. But there's a lot more here, too - from feuds large and small, unusual aptitudes, and even an incipeint romance. I didn't find Enchanted Glass quite as much as some of Jones's other works, but even an average Jones is better than many writers at their best. - Alex

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