Friday, April 20, 2007

Our Heroine Finds A Literary Meme

I don't know enough bloggers to get meme-tagged, but I saw this literary meme at The Curt Jester and I wanted to play.

Name up to three characters . . .

1) . . . you wish were real so you could meet them.

Tertius Lydgate (Middlemarch by George Eliot)
Tony Last (A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh)
Sydney Carton(A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

2) . . . you would like to be.

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery)
Dorothea Brooke (Middlemarch by George Eliot)
Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare)

3) . . . who scare you.

The Specialist's Hat (The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link )
The entire Rook family (Like Water Off a Dog's Back by Kelly Link)
Arawn the Death-Lord (Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander)

I didn't do it intentionally, but I notice that every single one of the characters I'd like to meet is a tragic hero, and I know that is because I would want to use my time with each one of them to try to save them: "Tertius, don't marry Rosamund!" "Tony, don't leave Hetton!" "Sydney, you DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our Heroine Sheepishly Confesses She has Wandered Off-Track Again

Ok, ok, people! (especially BMT) I know I owe y'all an Iliad post. I know this. I promise I have been reading The Iliad and I have thoughts. They aren't great thoughts, or even particularly interesting, but, such as they are, they are ready to share.

It's just, well, Eifelheim arrived in the mail this weekend, and I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you just read few pages of this, to see if it's any good, and then you can easily go back to the men of Troy?" So I peeped page one, and, I'm sorry, but I can't stop.

Can I tell you why I'm loving it so much? I am loving this book because the author is a master of dramatic tension, in particular, dramatic irony. Seriously, my sense of coming tragedy began with the tone of resignation in the opening monologue.

The reader is made aware immediately (practically from the dust-jacket) that something terrible, genuinely unimaginably terrible, is going to happen to the people of Eifelheim. There's no secret to the fact that whatever it is, it's likely the result of the Black Death and aliens mixing (don't smirk). But, as curious as the reader may be about what exactly the mechanism of the town's destruction is going to be, curiosity takes a back seat to her growing distress over the fate of the characters. Why? Because, so far, each of the inhabitants of Eifelheim is struggling to behave in as noble and Christian a manner as his experience and disposition permits, in confusing and stressful circumstances. Yet the reader knows this same nobility must mean, ultimately, everyone's destruction. Do you know how hard that is to read, and yet, how impossible that is to not read? I keep hoping everyone is going to fly off into outerspace, holding hands and drinking tankards of ale, and yet every page indicates to me that this is just not going to happen. I have never wanted so badly to be proved wrong.

I also am having to read it with a dictionary because the author's vocabulary is ridiculous. This makes me feel first, stupid, and then, smart.

And here's a tip for my readers who are "horrific grasshopper alien" snobs, and so don't give a good dadgum what anyone has to say about "tension" and "tragedy" and "dramatic irony," so long as aliens were used to create them: have you people listened to Neil Finn's, "She Will Have Her Way" recently? No? Then go rock out to it immediately (AFTER you pay your taxes).