Charmed Life

I don’t know if she had one tucked away somewhere. The ones she wrote about usually caused their owners a good deal of bother, but they played a big part in my childhood imagination.

Diana Wynne Jones has sadly just died, and Charmed Life is still my favourite of her books. I think it’s near perfect, it’s so well-plotted and so funny and a little upsetting, while Chrestomanci, who, if I remember rightly, possesses the ability to sweep out a room like a very long procession of one person, is an absolutely unforgettable character.

But I loved her uncertain heroes too; Cat in Charmed Life, Moril in Cart and Cwidder, Gair in Power of Three, who discover what every child dreams of – that they possess talents no one else in the world possesses; but also that such talents can bring sadness and (sometimes hilarious) disruption and responsibility, as well as happiness. She was a wise, as well as an incredibly inventive writer.

PS I’ve just found a marvellous essay Diana Wynne Jones wrote about her own sometimes charmed life here.


2 Responses to “Charmed Life”

  1. 1 Clare March 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Oh I knew I recognised this and when I looked it up I vividly remembered the thing about how the Cat’s nine lives are a book of matches and he goes up in flames when someone strikes one – so chilling. What a great author.


  2. 2 rambutanchik March 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    yes, yes, it’s an amazing scene. And then when he finds out who put his lives in the book of matches… so sad


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