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Classics etc
Posted by: jon (
Date: October 23, 2002 12:59PM

<HTML>I hate to be,sorry, I mean I love being pedantic (I trained as a teacher but the drugs wore off just in time) so I will be.

*Pompous voice* I think you'll find, Charles, that JFf doesn't actually parody the writing styles of C Bronte or C Dickens, although he uses their character names, but he does (I think) do Kafka...I say I think cos I ain't actually read Kafka. And this is good because parody is very very easy (I mean, I can do it) but writing witty and intelligent stuff that is original is very very difficult which is why our Jasper is such a rare gem. And also why he's got more money than me.

And Twila, I have bad news for you...the movie (at least the Olivier one) only did half of Wuthering Heights (up to Heathcliff's death). So if you want to know how it all turns out in the end, it's back to Emily for you...and quite right too; I don't care what you cynical lot think, I love it, and it is very Romantic indeed. It was Jane Eyre I couldn't finish...I wanted to slap her, while yelling "Get a life!" down her earhole. (And yes, I know 19th cent women couldn't often get a life of their own, but had to chain themselves to some oaf, but really...given a choice between St John Rivers (a wet and a weed) and Rochester (attempted bigamist), old maidhood looks a very attractive option).

OK, I've finished pontificating, you can all come out now.</HTML>

Re: Classics etc
Posted by: polly (
Date: October 23, 2002 06:43PM

<HTML><<Granted, I did read almost 3/4 of "Wuthering Heights", but had to put it down because I wanted to just smack the crap out of both Heathcliff and Cathy for being such poo-headed dolts! Besides, I've seen the movie So it's not like I don't know what happens, it's just the movie was over quicker LOL>>

Isn't that because they cut half the book out of it?

As for Dickens, I keep meaning to try to get round to it again, but have been mentally scarred by 2nd year English - having to go therough part 1 of David Copperfield (and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner) picking out all examples of metaphor, simile and onamatopaeia just about ruined Dickens for me forever. And if Thursday could possibly arrange to have that wretched Albatross removed from the Ancient Mariner, maybe my memories will disappear too! I can still quote whole chunks of that damn poem (not something you'd really want to do in polite company)


Re: Classics etc
Posted by: ScarletBea (
Date: October 23, 2002 09:00PM

<HTML>Fact: making people STUDY books ruins every hope of ENJOYING them.

And it looks like this happens in every single country.</HTML>

Re: The strange case of...
Posted by: Magda (
Date: October 24, 2002 02:55PM

<HTML>Bravo, Jon!

My college roommate shared with me her love of Wodehouse and Sayers (in exchange for which I got her hooked on Dr. Who).

I enjoyed this immensely.


Re: The strange case of...
Posted by: poetscientistdrinker (
Date: October 24, 2002 07:02PM

<HTML>Absolutely right Bea. 'Lord of the Flies' is even worse if you have to stop every five lines to 'investigate' (British education speak for 'copy what you're told for regurgitation during the exam') yet another metaphor. In fact, it was so bad that I never actually finished it before my GCSE exam that tested my knowledge of the bloody thing.

As for my own spectacular gaps in my reading (In my defence I'm a scientist, although I try to alternate a popular science book with something fictional - and typically read a book every three days or so) I blame GCSE English for destroying any motivation to study literature at any higher level. I like to read the stuff that's a little bit less cliched, so Dickens is out as it's on TV all the bloody time and everybody claims to have read it when at least half have only seen a dodgy adaptation. I have read stuff like 'Tom Jones' (and no, not because I thought it was a biography of a Welsh singer...), 'Moby Dick', Mallory's 'Morte d'Athur' (and no, I'm not a hippy, I just wanted a challenge and ended up speaking 14th Century english all the bloody time).

I've read Beowolf, but only the Heaney translation (I might get round to the original, although I'm not sure I want all the pain of learning a new language. Poetry-wise I love Roger McGough, and think that Shakespeare's sonnets are worth a hell of a lot more than the few cliched ones that are normally thrust upon us. I can't stand Tennyson - GCSE english strikes again. Gerard Manley Hopkins should have been burnt at the stake on a pile of his scribblings, as far as I can care.

I have read a fair amount, and I've been exposed to enough literature to know what is having fun poked at when Mr Fforde writes. I agree that he doesn't emulate writing styles, and with 'The Trial' it's more that Mr Fforde condenses the beaurocratic process that is never really explained in 'The Trial' into one incredibly funny court scence. btw I got the 'Trial' from this big building full of books that I lurched into after an all night drinking session. They call it a library.

Does anybody else read some books and find themselves saying 'Well, I enjoyed that, but I won't read it again.' ? Some books I love and immediately restart, others I close and leave alone forever more. Strange. Especially seeing as it's not always the books I really enjoy that I re-read.</HTML>

Re: The strange case of...
Posted by: Katie (
Date: October 24, 2002 08:58PM

<HTML>Very funny...very witty...but Bertie can't be in love with Thursday cos I am (give me five minutes alone with her and Park-Laine is, since he's never existed at the minute he can't strictly ever actually be history, but you know what I mean). Face it folks; Thursday is the girl we've all been dreaming of (and am I the only other girl that thinks this? Thought so...back in the box, Katie.)</HTML>

Re: The strange case of...
Posted by: ScarletBea (148.177.129.---)
Date: October 25, 2002 08:16AM

<HTML>Come out of the box Katie :D

Thursday is smart, intelligent, strong and tender, caring and able to get really angry... and only 3 years old than me, perfect! LOL
(oh wait, she was 35 in 1985, drats... eheheheh)</HTML>

Re: The strange case of...
Posted by: ScarletBea (148.177.129.---)
Date: October 25, 2002 08:45AM

<HTML>Ben said źDoes anybody else read some books and find themselves saying 'Well, I enjoyed that, but I won't read it again.' ? Some books I love and immediately restart, others I close and leave alone forever more. ╗

Oh yes, that really happens to me, although luckily it's not often. Let me think of an example....... the ones I put on the difficult to access shelves lol......... drats there goes my memory...
Anyway, one I couldn't even finish (so maybe it doesn't fit in the category), it was "The Pope's Rinhocerus" or something like that... boring as hell and it did sound attractive, me being into historical fiction and all....

Oh I just thought of one! Although I really love Roddy Doyle, and I enjoyed 'Henry Star' (is that the real name of the book?) I don't see myself reading it again unless I've re-read everything else and am very bored with all the books I have, lol....</HTML>

The Defendant
Posted by: charles ronayne (
Date: October 25, 2002 11:56AM

<HTML>Right erm can I defend myself please? :-) *stands up in the dock* Thanks for your advice Ben. I did go and find this strange place called the library, holding all those sacred things called books, and managed to find myself a copy of the trial. Apart from the fact that it is seriously strange (and most of the last conversation he has with the priest goes right over my head) I can see how what Mr. Fforde did runs quite close to the story. Well actually its probably pretty perfect apart from different job descriptions and the translation that means instead of Herr K. calling them scoundrals, he calls them Blackguards. Presumably more offensive, although I am not exactly sure. Anyway my point is that I can see how Mr. Fforde has possibly tried to bring the character of a literary person out in his books, and not just use their name. Although not as long as the scene from the trial, which probably loses a lot of connection to the Trial anyway after Thursday has started her compelling defence, there are references to scenes from Jane Eyre. The scene where Rochester gets stopped by the horse, for example.
I would also say that most of the characters actually keep in character throughout the story, when Rochester asks Thursday whether she finds him attractive, after her answer he says "Bah. Pixies both!", which, having read the book, is probably one of the most Rochester-like-phrases that could have been used. Of course, it is not imperitive that you have read Jane Eyre beforehand, although it might give you a wider appreciation of the character Rochester really is.
On the other hand, one of the beauties of the Miss Havisham is the fact that she is so different from the up-tight character from the Dickens novels. Just the idea of this mean old lady driving up the motorway in a large lorry was enough to bring tears to my eyes
Anyway I guess the point I am trying to make is that although there are not really any direct quotes (apart from the old sweet madness one) I would say that I dont think the characters were chosen purely for the sake that they are famous literary characters, but also becuase Mr. Fforde (I'm sorry I just can't get used to the idea of calling somebody I have never met Jasper although this may change. Is anybody thinking about going to this Swindon Book Festival thing?) wanted to parody them, so in a way you get a better appreciation of the parody by having read the book before.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury I rest my case
Signed: One Pompous Old Man</HTML>

Re: The Defendant
Posted by: jon (
Date: October 25, 2002 01:17PM

<HTML>Hmm. Good defence Charles. Indeed there is a subtle difference between straightforward parody, i.e. pinching somebody else's writing style (see Wodehouse skit at top of all this) and writing in your own style, but using other writers characters and still 'keeping them in character' so to speak. It's a neat trick and very difficult to do, I should think. And on top of all this Jasper (I'm sorry, but I like calling Mr. Fforde by his first've got a name as good as that, you want to use it) manages to be funny, interesting, and keep a complicated plot moving along. All of which illustrates why J.Ff. is a proper writer and I'm not. Case dismissed.

Oh, and thanks for doing a compare and contrast on the Trial scenes...saves me the bother of reading Kafka!</HTML>

Posted by: charles ronayne (
Date: October 25, 2002 02:26PM

<HTML>:-) Hey thanks. Sorry if I sounded a little angry or something (I'm not sure how angry should sound but I guess that might have been it) But I am trying to get into my literary criticism style right in time for when I have to study it as part of my degree. I would reccomend reading Kafka at some point though, as I'm sure Ben would agree it leaves you feeling remarkably -- well sane. Ditto Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory. Although don't read that if you have just eaten. b.t.w There is probably one thing that makes Jasper (oh well by general consensus I may as well try and use first names) more of a proper writer, and that is the fact that he has been published, a feat that the writing at the top of the message would suggest is not far away for you.
Anyway I'm off to read about the Gorilla in this strange library place. Peace.

Posted by: poetscientistdrinker (
Date: October 25, 2002 07:34PM

<HTML>I completely agree that the characters remain in their own style all the way through, which is one of the joys of the TN books.</HTML>

Posted by: Ooktavia (
Date: October 26, 2002 05:46PM

<HTML>Harriet wouldn't scratch her eyes out- they're both happily married women (at least after the end of TEA and Gaudy Night respectively) They could all slove murders together. They could!!!!
Oh go on..................
As for the Ape in the library- remeber (a) he is not a monkey) and (b) Librarys have been known to disturb abd distort space time, so be careful. Hang on- maybe that's where the Portal leads- L_space (like an Espace, but a much smoother and more sophisticated ride)</HTML>

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