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Among Others by Jo Walton

Among Others (edition 2012)

by Jo Walton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,0331893,292 (3.97)2 / 418
Title:Among Others
Authors:Jo Walton
Info:Tor Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:Science Fiction, School, Meta, British

Work details

Among Others by Jo Walton

  1. 80
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (norabelle414)
    norabelle414: A young, bookish kid in 1970s England gets tangled up in magical and scary events larger than they are.
  2. 40
    Little, Big by John Crowley (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Similar style and approach to the world of faerie
  3. 30
    The Child That Books Built by Francis Spufford (anglemark)
    anglemark: Both books are about how reading shaped a child, although they are not both viewing it exactly the same way.
  4. 10
    Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Both works have a hint of Faerie, without being clear whether it's real or not. Also bad parents and their struggling offspring.
  5. 10
    The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (Herenya)
    Herenya: Both stories have a heroine dealing with grief and the sometimes-loneliness of being 15.
  6. 43
    The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman (Jannes)
    Jannes: Both are fantasy or fantasy-sih books about fantasy readers and how the stories you read hape you and affect your sense of the world.

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English (188)  French (1)  All (189)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
It's like this book stuck its hand inside my chest and reached back into my youth and yanked it out, the whole book-filled mess of it, and then we both looked at it and at the way people live stories into their lives, and then I cried. It's not going to touch everyone that way, probably, this book, but it was incredibly resonant for me. It's a meta schoolgirl fantasy novel, but it's like holding up a mirror for a certain kind of young reader, it seems very autobiographical and it is beautifully written, and it felt like it sewed itself right into my heart from the first pages. God, everything, all the SFnal references, the way she leaned on Heinlein and Tolkein and LeGuin and Zelazny and Tiptree and McCaffrey... how she'd gauge new people by whether or not they'd want to Impress a dragon... I don't know. It was also a book about grief, and life, and the protagonist has a disability (she uses a cane), and and and. Yes, I rec it. ( )
  Gretchening | Jul 20, 2017 |
Brill! xD ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
I've been telling everyone about this book since I started reading it, and I don't normally promote books like that. But if you like genre fiction and if you had a childhood love of reading and if you ever felt like an outsider, I think you will love this book, a fantasy novel about a science fiction lover set in 1979-80. A really truthful book about loss, the pains of growing up, love, the Welsh countryside, and reading-- with fairies thrown in! Walton's conception of magic is really compelling, and the narrative voice is excellent. A lot packed into this: I'd love to teach it someday, actually!
  Stevil2001 | May 26, 2017 |
So the story started off easy enough, a girl who has a twin, her twin sister dies in a vaguely-mentioned accident, the girl is injured during the accident (leaving her with a crippled leg), she blames her mother, runs away, her estranged father takes her in, her father with the help of his sister's money sends the girl to a boarding school, where the girl encounters bullying, self-discovery, and life. Obviously that's a very short summary of a very whimsical story.

Often there are books out there that leave you puzzled after you've closed the book and this was one of them. I don't dislike the book but I can't say definitively that I LOVE the book, but I do like it. I thought it was well written and the characters were interesting but I was confused at the end and perhaps in some of the middle parts. Maybe I was reading too much into the story, maybe I missed something along the way, I'm not sure but I can say that I'm still puzzled about the book. Some of these questions are semi-spoilers - Is Mori crazy or do the fairies really exist in her world? Is Mori, in the in-between world trying to find her way back to the living after the accident? Is Mori suicidal and she doesn't have a twin at all but is simply a reflection of a part of her that's dead - is that why the fairies wanted the two to merge together at the end? I don't know but I think I'll be re-reading this book again at a later time to see if these questions are answered. Honestly, it feels like the Matrix, Inception all over again - is this real or isn't it?

Regardless of my confusion, I really enjoyed hearing about all the books mentioned in Among Others. And am gathering up the list of Bibliography from Among Others that people have created and checking off the ones I've read and the ones I'd like to read. ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
This book is a contradiction for me; on one hand it talks with reverence about libraries and books, and science fiction and authors and the discussion rings true and echoes feelings and emotions I had as a kid - and frankly still have.

The story itself though, wanders, particularly the first half, where it seems more of a diary used to purge the author of unpleasant childhood memories which, as a reader, were difficult to understand or relate to.

As I plugged along hoping for it to improve, the book came into its own over the last third, the wandering tightens and becomes a dreamlike séance into another world of magic and faeries, where danger exists and heroes and friends are found.

On the whole, recommended if only for the discussion of SF authors and novels. ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
As [Mori] tries to come to terms with her sister’s death through both books and fairy magic, the novel assumes true emotional resonance.
There are really two points where the success of the novel as what it is make it fail to connect with me. The first has to do with the books. It's written in the form of a diary, and the form and voice are spot-on. But part of getting the diary form right is that it doesn't provide much in the way of information about the many books that Mori reads in the course of the novel-- you wouldn't expect a teenager with a lot on her mind to do a detailed plot summary of everything she read, after all.

This is no big deal as long as you recognize the references to authors and titles. But if you don't-- and there are a lot of books mentioned that I know about but either haven't read or do not recall fondly-- a lot of significance is lost. The titles sort of flash by as blank spots in the narrative, a kind of "This Cultural Reference Intentionally Left Blank" effect that ends up being a little off-putting.
This isn't a traditional fantasy, by any means. But it's a smart, heartfelt novel, with a strong, likable narrator, and many touchstones in terms of other books that will resonate for us, depending on how we felt/feel about those books.

It has also jumped right into my short list of favorite books ever, and it's one that I plan to reread more than once.
But, just as the magic, it's a peculiar, unique book. I've read most of Walton's fiction. I like this best, but in some ways it's the least structurally certain of her works; I think the magic that's so subtle it's deniable at the start of the book fails to maintain that quirky quality at its end—and I understand why, but still found it jarring.

Regardless, there's a deep beauty to this book that feels so entirely real I'm grateful for its existence, for the fact that I could read it, and for the way it now graces my own internal library.
Among Others is many things – a fully realized boarding-school tale, a literary memoir, a touching yet unsentimental portrait of a troubled family – but there’s something particularly appealing about a fantasy which not only celebrates the joy of reading, but in which the heroine must face the forces of doom not in order to return yet another ring to some mountain, but to plan a trip to the 1980 Glasgow Eastercon. That’s the sort of book you can love.
added by Passer_Invenit | editLocus, Gary Wolfe (Jan 24, 2011)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Waltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen Hayden, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
s.BENešCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vojnar, KamilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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—Ursula Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at what younger age?

Any time between 10 and 25:

It's going to improve. Honest. There really are people out there that you will like and who will like you.

—Farah Mendelsohn, LiveJournal, 23rd May 2008
This is for all the libraries in the world, and all the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people.
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The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around. We'd measured it on the mileometer.
It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.
[On Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd]: He makes things happen neatly, and sometimes they're horrible things, but they're always very pat. I hate that. He could have learned a lot from Silverberg and Delany.
She was looking at a record called 'Anarchy in the U.K.' by a group called the Sex Pistols. It was a very ugly cover, but I am quite interested in anarchism because of 'The Dispossessed'.
Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.
Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.
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Book description
Startling, unusual, and irresistibly readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. When her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled — and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to a father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England — a place all but devoid of true magic. There, she is tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off...

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonatham Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is a stunning new novel by an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers such as Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

See http://papersky.livejournal.com/37282... for the moment of the book's genesis.
Haiku summary
The battle's over
Books keep you sane living in
Ruins with fairies.

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Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closests companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled -- and her twin sister dead.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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