Auntie Bea’s Day Out by Diana Wynne Jones (1978); collected in “Freaky Families”, audiobook read by Penelope Rawlins (Clipper Audio, 2013) A fun but insubstantial middle-grade adventure where children are dragged about by an oblivious, over-the-top adult and… magical things happen. The adult doesn’t notice. The children do, but have no agency and function merely as observers. A fairly pointless…
Tag: Diana Wynne Jones
The Four Grannies
The Four Grannies by Diana Wynne Jones (H. Hamilton, 1980); collected in “Freaky Families”, audiobook read by Penelope Rawlins (Clipper Audio, 2013) An irreverent middle-grade story in the Roald Dahl mode, though with not-so-horrible characters, less revelling in the mischief making, and far less of a comeuppance. Erg’s marvellous invention and his use of it tend more towards gormlessness than…
Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle dir. Hayao Miyazaki (2004) The anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s novel is fantasy in the truest sense, delivering a story predicated more on imagery and impression than narrative structure. The delivery is both visually striking and vocally effective, promoting strong anti-war, pro-age and pro-compassion sentiments.
The Dark Lord of Derkholm
The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones (Gollancz, 1998); audiobook read by Jonathan Broadbent (Clipper, 2013) The concept is clever—explaining at last the genre-wide recrudescence of fantasy dark lords!—and Derk and Mara’s human-griffin family makes a pleasing point of (embracing) difference. The story itself, however, merely demonstrates cliché, dragging, meandering and bloviating to no great purpose.
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (Macmillan, 1977); audiobook read by Tony Robinson (AudioGO, 2011) Jones deftly establishes a parallel world in which magic is commonplace, and a cast of characters where the identity of the villain—and even that of the protagonist!—remains convincingly ambiguous. Tony Robinson’s audiobook reading elevates the story to a new level.