Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review: The 13 Clocks by James Thurber

Picked this one up on the strength of Neil Gaiman's introduction, and reading it after Gaiman is like reading George MacDonald after C.S. Lewis, or perhaps Beowulf after Tolkien. It seems like a Gaiman story written out of time. It's all there: the archetypical fairy-tale plot-shape, the cast of characters in which the evil is just a little more creatively evil than usual and the good is just a little more ambiguous and odd than usual (but, if anything, warmer), the magic in which the ordinary is cut and pasted with unexpected but fitting rules for its use, the strange but wonderful idea of 13 frozen clocks... the only elements of Thurber that don't show up in Gaiman is that the women don't have enough to do here (they're still above average for the time, but people who want to complain about the women in Tolkien should take this as context) and Thurber makes up new words at a higher rate than Gaiman. Recommended for Gaiman fans.

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