wayfarers all

children's literature, childhood and culture (and anything else that strikes my fancy).

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Location: pittsburgh, U.S. Outlying Islands

carbon-based life form: thinking, reading and gardening. New College alum; current grad student writing a dissertation. I specialize in children's literature, media, and culture, and queer/gender studies, with a strong interest in 19th century British literature and culture. I like history, a lot.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

weird wet magic

E. nesbit is one of my personal favorite writers (for children or otherwise). Over my winter break, at a fantastic bookstore in Sarasota, Florida called Main Bookshop (http://www.mainbookshop.com/ ), I discovered Wet Magic, nesbit's last fantasy novel for children. somehow i had never heard of this one before, or else blocked it from my memory. Either way, i snapped it up immediately.

and it was very peculiar. It's an underwater fantasy, featuring a variety of merpeople who have removable tails (legs underneath, i guess). but it was quite an odd little novel. In particular, Nesbit includes an exeedingly dismal description of a fair the children go to (on land) that rivals anything lemony snicket ever included in his Series of Unfortunate Events.

What i liked best about Wet Magic is its anti-war message. Nesbit was a member of the Fabian Society in england, a socialist organization, and most of her novels have some kind of socialist/progressive message. The Fabians still exist - their website is http://www.fabian-society.org.uk/int.asp.

I need to read Wet Magic a few more times to really process its oddness - there was something uncommonly grim and drawn-out in the Beachfield Fair scenes, and i really don't know what to do with it.

My favorite nesbit novel is The Magic City. it's absolutely marvellous and dreamy and wonderful. Go read it!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read WET MAGIC also and liked it (tho my favorite is still THE ENCHANTED CASTLE). I've started writing a book set somewhere between the mermaids' caverns and Oz. :-) Remember the magician Pipt in Oz who made the Glass Cat? After Ozma stopped him doing magic in Oz, he requested asylum from the mermaids.

I agree with you about the carnival and Lemony Snicket. I wonder if that author had read Nesbit?


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