Disconsolate Narrative

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Conspiracy of girl and gander

Jan Mark finds much to admire in Frances Hardinge's debut novel, Fly By Night, but thinks it lacks narrative drive:

Hardinge is a hugely talented writer of tireless invention and vivid prose. Her scenarios are wonderfully realised, as is the cod history which is not always as hilarious as it first appears, but it is this undisciplined talent which gets in the way of the action. Every incident and description is so embellished with similes and dependent clauses that the narrative is left hanging about like a disconsolate bloke in Miss Selfridge, abandoned outside the fitting rooms while the style lingers to admire itself in the mirror. At best Hardinge's writing puts her up there with Aiken and Leon Garfield in the recreation of an England that never was, but these writers peaked at a time when it was believed that children were not equal to the demands of long books. Now it has been established beyond doubt that they are, it need not be forgotten that they can still appreciate short ones.

For a more positive take on the book, read Mai Lin Li's achukareview...

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on January 14, 2006 7:15 AM.

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