Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Introduction: A Special Issue for a More Than Special Writer

Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Introduction: A Special Issue for a More Than Special Writer

Article excerpt

IT MUST HAVE BEEN about 1982. A CHILDREN'S LIBRARIAN WHO SHARED MY taste for fantasy asked if I had read a book she recently added to the local collection. The author was Diana Wynne Jones. I remembered reading a couple of Jones's earlier fantasies and noting her as someone to watch, but then I had gotten caught up in graduate studies and trying to start a sputtering career, and had forgotten to do the watching.

The book the librarian handed me was called Dogsbody (1975), and it was like nothing I had ever read: funny, touching, political, poetic, wildly inventive. The point-of-view character was impossible--not just a dog, but a dog who had once been a star--but Jones carried it off brilliantly. I immediately tracked down every book I had missed (not easy in those days before online searches) and have never missed a Jones title since. I've read them all more than once, passed most of them along to others, written about their intricate structures and narrative daring, and turned a few favorites into places I can retreat to in difficult times. …

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