Monday, 14 June 2010


In the past few months I've read a couple of works of metafiction.  I've probably read books like this before, but I'm more aware of them now than I've ever been before.  I think they're fascinating.  Last year I read Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, in which the book itself plays a key role - and the narrator of part of the book turn out to be one of the characters.  Those two facts are very intertwined, and are part of what makes the book more interesting than a regular children's fantasy adventure (not that there's anything wrong with those!)

I also read Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.  Fforde's novel has characters slipping in and out of their real world and the world of Jane Eyre.  I'm not sure if it's actually metafiction, since the focus is more on different realities than on layers of fiction, but it's certainly something very similar.

Just recently, I finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  This is the book that sent me on my quest to find out more--I got to the end of the novel and was confused, but intrigued.  A little bit of research brought up the topic of metafiction. I don't think it specifically helps me to understand the novel better, but it gives me a context to place it in.  It's also opened up a whole new world to explore.

I think Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad, which I've loved for years, might be metafiction too--it certainly deals with the concept of metanarrative, which is somehow connected.  The cherry on the top is that my current Bible reading notes are subtitled 'Adventures in the Biblical Metanarrative'! I'm going to be looking out for the concept from now on and trying to figure out more of what it actually is.

Tuesday, 08 June 2010

There's a particular book I want to read right now. It's not just the text that I want to reread, but a particular copy that I want to hold. I want the oldish edition of Dear Daddy-long-legs with the blue and white cover and the line illustrations of the farmhouse where the heroine goes on holiday. I want the copy that's sitting on a shelf labelled 'Children's Classics', next to dozens of other books I've enjoyed. The shelf that's just between the picture books and the junior fiction in my hometown library, and across the room from the issue desk. The issue desk with the friendly librarians I've known since I was three, who will ask me how the exams are going and if I enjoyed my books. I want the same copy of Dear Daddy-long-legs that I've always read.

Unfortunately, it's several hundred kilometres from here, along with the house I grew up in and the library I almost know backwards. The library here works well enough, but right now I'm feeling nostalgic and maybe a little homesick. I guess it's part of growing up and moving on; not sad so much as different.