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shewhomust

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Redeemed! [Apr. 2nd, 2017|05:57 pm]
shewhomust
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A month ago I admitted that I had managed to read A.P. Herbert's The Water Gypsies without noticing that its basic mode was comedy. So I would like it on the record that I have since read Frances Hardinge's Fly By Night, and it is funny.

It is many other things besides, but it is funny.

It is funny in its use of words, and names in particular: alongside the elegant fantasy names of the city of Mandelion and Lady Tamarind, it contains Eponymous Clent, who wins the support of heroine Mosca by his use of words. She knows how little he is to be trusted: "You tell lies for money," but when he replies "Pray do not confuse the execise of the imagination with mere mendacity. I am a master of the mysteries of words, their meanings and music and mellifluous magic," she is won over. She isn't fooled, but where else will she hear words like 'mendacity' and 'mellifluous'?

More to the point, because this is the thing I so utterly blanked in The Water Gypsies, the way plot developments are announced made me laugh out loud. I hope it won't spoil anything for anyone to say that Chapter 1 (which is, in any case, titled 'A is for Arson') ends with Mosca explaining why she is so keen to get away from the village where she has lived all her life:
"Very soon," Mosca said quietly, "my uncle will wake up. An' when he does... he's likely to notice that I've burned down his mill.
Fly By Night was published in 2005, and it got great reviews then. It has taken me a ridiculously long time to read it. This may have been partly due to the title, and the heroine's name, which suggest that it is about houseflies. And it sort of is, but do not be deterred by this. I eventually came to it because I read Frances Hardinge's latest book, The Lie Tree, which is also wonderful, but in a completely different way. It did not in the slightest prepare me for how funny Fly By Night is.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2017-04-02 06:47 pm (UTC)
It is many other things besides, but it is funny.

I loved Fly by Night when I discovered it in 2012. I went around describing it to people as a cross between Westmark-mode Lloyd Alexander and Sid Fleischman, which I still stand by even if I have no idea if Hardinge ever read either. I was so taken with the first conversation between Mosca and Clent that I typed out the whole five and a half pages and e-mailed them at once to derspatchel.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-04-03 11:34 am (UTC)
I have read neither Lloyd Alexander nor Sid Fleischman, but Fly By Night is certainly full of passages I wanted to read aloud to someone.
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[User Picture]From: vschanoes
2017-04-03 12:26 pm (UTC)
I think I love the sequel even more!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2017-04-03 01:40 pm (UTC)
Because now, of course, I have to read everything she has written!
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[User Picture]From: vschanoes
2017-04-04 01:59 am (UTC)
Fortunately, every single thing she has written is super-amazing! I am about 3/4 of the way through The Lie Tree right now. My favorite (so far) is still Cuckoo Song, but all of her books are absorbing and rich. I have never regretted a sojourn in any of her worlds! I honestly think she is the most exciting author writing today, for me. She's somebody who, whenever a new book comes out, I get super-excited! (I'm late reading The Lie Tree, but I bought it immediately...I just enjoy delaying gratification in a weird way...)
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