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Among Others by Jo Walton

Among Others (edition 2012)

by Jo Walton

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1,7231674,111 (3.96)2 / 383
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. 40
    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. 20
    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.
  3. 32
    The Magicians 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.
  4. 10
    Little, Big by John Crowley (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Similar style and approach to the world of faerie
  5. 00
    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.
  6. 00
    The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip (Herenya)
    Herenya: Both stories have a heroine dealing with grief and the sometimes-loneliness of being 15.

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Diese und weitere Rezensionen findet ihr auf meinem Blog Anima Libri - Buchseele

Bücher über Bücher ♥ Für mich immer wieder ein definitives Highlight! So auch im Fall von Jo Waltons „In einer anderen Welt“, in dem Bücher, insbesondere Fantasy und SciFi Romane, Klassiker wie aktuellere, eine zentrale Rolle spielen. Denn im Grunde genommen ist dieser Roman eine Ode an die Literatur – und an Leihbüchereien. Außerdem ist es eine ganz wahnsinnig tolle Geschichte darüber, sich seinen eigenen Platz in der Welt zu suchen.

Mit ihrem Roman erzählt Jo Walton eine faszinierende Geschichte, die sich immer an der Grenze zwischen Realität und Phantastik bewegt, stets auf Messers Schneide, sodass sich auch der Leser nie endgültig sicher sein kann, ob Mori nicht vielleicht einfach doch nur eine übereifrige Phantasie hat oder ob hier und da tatsächlich Magie in diese Welt sickert. Außerdem ist „In einer anderen Welt“ eine Liebeserklärung an die Literatur im Allgemeinen und Fantasy, SciFi und Leihbibliotheken im Besonderen.

Die Geschichte selbst findet eigentlich nach dem Höhepunkt der Handlung statt, es geht darum, sich mit den Konsequenzen des bereits Geschehenen auseinander zu setzen. Das macht Ich-Erzählerin Mori in einer sehr abgeklärten Art, die mich hier und da leider doch etwas gestört hat, denn der Ton der Erzählung ist mir manchmal einfach zu klinisch gewesen. Gleichzeitig betrachtet Mori ihre Umwelt aber auch oft durch ihre Lektüre und das wiederum ist ganz toll gelesen zu wesen.

Alles in allem ist „In einer anderen Welt“ von Jo Walton eine wortgewaltige Geschichte, ein literarischer Liebesbeweis ans Geschichten Erzählen und Lesen und kommt mit einer ganz faszinierenden Magie daher, bei der man sich nie endgültig sicher sein kann, ob sie echt oder Einbildung ist. ( )
  FiliaLibri | Nov 10, 2015 |
It's been a long time since I read one of those books. You know the kind -- the book that you take with you everywhere, and read a page whenever you have an extra moment or two standing in line or waiting for a bus.

This is the kind of book that will make you miss your subway stop. The kind of book you sit with, out on the deck in the evening, and never even notice that the sun has gone down and you're craning around to read in the light spilling from the window behind you. Luminous, subtle, and filled with the sense that the universe is far larger and stranger than we can imagine, but there's a place for those of us who've always been a little odd, a little too bookish for other peoples' tastes; Jo Walton's Among Others is about those of us who live a far richer life of the imagination and mind than anyone might suspect, watching from outside. ( )
  MacAllister | Oct 22, 2015 |
The first few chapters of this novel triggered an astonishing cascade of thoughts, memories and sensations. Growing up in the seventies/eighties, reading Tolkien, Lewis, Garner, and any and all science fiction and fantasy I could get my hands on, the chord struck was, presumably, the intended one. My reading would not have been anywhere near the breadth or vigour of Mori's, nor would my responses have been as astute or thoughtful, but the effect on my imagination of reading The Lord Of The Rings was like hooking up a Christmas tree to a nuclear power plant. And a few years ago that might have been enough to make me fall in love with this book, just to see it being recreated, reimagined like this. I cherish my memories of being a bookish boy who half preferred to live in fantasy or way out in the galaxy somewhere than the real world, but I'm also perfectly aware of the drawbacks to such a life, the seclusion, the ant-social avoidance of other people and the tendency towards solipsism. There was also the seductive lure of language and wish-fulfillment, as it seemed possible to achieve things just by describing them in a few pages or chapter. Learn magic or warrior skills in as long as it takes to describe it! Much easier than actually doing the hard physical graft.

So it's worth remembering that I didn't just live my life through books. I was extremely fond of climbing mountains, for one thing, and I climbed most of the mountains in Ireland at one time or another, which meant that I climbed them in the worst weather imaginable and had the skills, experience and strength to love every minute. I also hiked through Wales, twice, which is relevant.

What I mean to say is that I had the suspicion that I was being pandered to, being told that I was special and misunderstood, but that I wasn't alone. Well I wasn't really, they don't let you climb mountains alone at that age. Fortunately, Jo Walton seems to get this, too, but that initial rush was the most vivid response to a book I've had in a long time. Which is fine, but is it any good?

It really is better than it has a right to be. A confection of whimsical fantasy, realism and nostalgia, the three worlds co-exist separately, much as the fairies do, so it's like an odd triangle balancing on one point at any given time.

Mori Markova has saved the world from her insane mother's magic, resulting in a dreadful sacrifice, and this is what happens in the aftermath. Sent away from her childhood home and extended family in the valleys and mountains of Wales to a boarding school in England, bringing with her a voracious appetite for reading. Lonely and isolated, she tries to find her way back to a life, but can't quite escape her mother's dark influence and her own propensity for magic.

Thus the three sides of her life: her books - a barrage of names and titles most of which I'm not too proud to say I am familiar with (but if you're not, there's a particularly lovely section where Mori describes her family and its history, another barrage of names and details, and like the books you really don't need to keep close track of everyone and everything to follow along); her new life and all its complexities and difficulties; and the fairies - which she sees everywhere - and the magic, and somehow it all works. Beautifully written, perceptive, quirky and evocative, Walton keeps them all balanced and poised with perfection.

This has won the Nebula and the Hugo, and it's easy to see why this has won the hearts of pros and fans alike, but it does more than just pander, which is not to say that it isn't a kind of wish fulfillment. The life, the books, the magic. Mori gets to have all three. But she earns it and she deserves it, and it's not a happy ending, but a happy beginning. After that, anything could happen. It's called growing up.

Just to note the coincidence: the last book I read and reviewed here was The Magus, which is one of the books Mori reads and talks about, which brought me up short a bit. I mean, you can read hundreds and hundreds of books, and none of them mention The Magus, but then you go and read The Magus, and in the very next book you read, the protagonist reads and talks about The Magus. Is that not peculiar? I found it peculiar. VERY peculiar.
( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
I'd probably give this 3.5 overall if I could give half stars.

I really liked Mor, but felt that she kept the reader at a distance as narrator. I loved the diary entry style of writing, because it meant not everything was explicitly spelled out. It also forced the reader to really consider what Mor was saying, especially in the areas that she skirted around more, like her mother, and what happened to her sister. Even by the end, I didn't feel like I really knew what happened with her mother, and the accident that killed her sister.

I loved the view of magic in this book, and the idea of its existence but how it exists in such a way that it's easily deniable. That really made me think, and I found it an incredibly interesting concept.

This book also made me wish I knew more about Science Fiction and Fantasy, since Mor is such an avid reader of SF, and it plays such a huge role throughout the book. I was familiar with so few of the authors and almost none of the titles, and I feel like having a stronger knowledge of the genre would have added another layer of understanding that I was missing.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book. I found it interesting, and even though I felt like things were left unanswered, I liked the mystery and subtlety entwined in the story, and that the reader was left with some ambiguity throughout. ( )
  klack128 | Oct 11, 2015 |
Set in the 1970s, this is Mori’s story. She and her twin sister grew up in Wales with a mum who dabbled in magic. They could talk to fairies and had little magics of their own. But their mother seeks greater power and an accident leaves Mori crippled and her twin gone. So Mori makes the hard but necessary choice to track down a father she’s never met. He’s quite surprised but takes on the challenge of raising a teenage girl. Mori finds herself in England at a boarding school, which is a completely foreign experience for her. So she dives further into her reading, devouring SFF novels by the dozens each month.

This tale is told through a series of journal entries and sometimes letters to her father. It felt like such a personal tale, as if Mori was writing to her lost twin sister and I was eaves dropping on the conversation. The story twined three elements together – the discussion of SFF novels (always a bonus!), bits of magic, and historical fiction. It really worked for me and I was so caught up in this book. I felt like Mori was a good friend by the end of it.

We also have some touches of mystery. For instance, it takes quite some time to find out how Mori was crippled and what happened to her sister (though the latter is a bit vague on the details). Then we have a smaller and much more common mystery of her father and how he met her mother and what the fall out was over. Lastly, there are the fairies themselves. For much of the novel, I was wondering if Mori was still caught up in a childhood game or if she could really see fairies and that magic was a real, tangible thing in this book (at least for her). I loved trying to catch her in some circumstance that would tell me for a certainty one way or the other. That moment doesn’t come until late in the book and having that bit of tension for the majority of the novel was a delicious tease.

Life at the boarding school is full of the teasing just about any new crippled kid on the block could expect to get. She’s got so much new to figure out, having come from a small Welsh town where everyone knows everyone. There’s some bullies I wouldn’t mind giving a nose tweak to and then there are some cool kids that do what they can to make her feel welcomed. In between terms, she has her father, a paternal grandfather, and a few aunties to get to know. Life in England is definitely different and there’s plenty of blunderings to share around. I really resonated with these aspects of the novel as I often moved as a kid and shared several of the same feelings as Mori.

The wonder of science fiction and fantasy literature is on grand display in this story. I loved all the talk about what made a story good or didn’t in Mori’s succinct few sentences. While I was born in the late 1970s, I had access to my dad’s SFF library growing up, so I recognized perhaps 3/4 of the novels referred to in this story, however, I had only read perhaps 1/3 of them. Reading this book definitely added some classic SFF novels to my TBR list. Mori will travel on multiple buses, slogging through foul weather on her cane in order to get to the library, post, or local book shop. I could totally relate.

This is one of those novels that makes me wish really hard that magic was alive and well in our world. In fact, this book almost makes me believe that if I keep looking, I will find it. As a coming of age novel, it rang true in many ways – the teasing, having to make adult decisions, going through the awkwardness of puberty. Toss in the mystery, the magic, the love of SFF literature, and you have quite the worthy read!

The Narration: Katherine Kellgren did a great job. She was the perfect voice for Mori. I loved her Welsh accent overlayed with Mori’s humor and wit. Kellgren performed other regional accents as required, making it a great narration. Her male voices were distinct and believable as well. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (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 editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen Hayden, PatrickEditorsecondary 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)

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