||[Aug. 23rd, 2006|09:46 pm]
Jo Walton (papersky) writes wonderful, incredibly weird books. Well, the last two of her five books (which are the ones I've read), are wonderful and weird. Tooth and Claw is, as she says, "a novel of manners in which all the characters are dragons and eat each other." A Victorian novel of manners.
Farthing is a British country-house mystery of the type I associate with the 1930's. And it's a alternate history -- what if Britain had made peace with Hitler? What if you were a daughter of one of the upper-class families that had architected that peace, and you had married a Jew? What if you were a police detective whose own class is just high enough to be admitted at the front door of the family house?
Ursula K. Le Guin's blurb is: "If Le Carré scares you, try Jo Walton. Of course her brilliant story of a democracy selling itself out to fascism sixty years ago is just a mystery, just a thriller, just a fantasy--of course we know nothing like that could happen now. Don't we?"
Understated and chilling.