Among Others by Jo Walton

Among Others by Jo Walton

Tor Books, New York, 2010

Borrowed from my library.  I have to thank Nymeth for bringing this one to my attention.

Jo Walton’s epigraph for Among Others:

This is for all the libraries in the world, and the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people.

Among Others is story of Morwenna, a girl caught between the everyday world and the world of magic.  Having lost her twin sister, suffering multiple injuries in an accident running away from her half-crazed mother, and meeting her father and his family for the first time, Mori finds herself in a private school, an outsider with no desire to be anything else.

Told in a series of diary entries, this is one of the best presentations of a certain time in adolescence, of feeling “alien” amidst “normality”, and of learning to navigate peer-pressure, relationships and social connection that I have read.  


I don’t think I’m like other people.  I mean on some deep fundamental level.  It’s not just being half  a twin and reading a lot and seeing fairies.  It’s not just being outside when their all inside.  I used to be inside.  I think there’s a way I stand aside and look backwards at things when they are happening which isn’t normal.  It’s a thing you need to do for doing magic.  From page 169.

One of the most interesting things about Among Others is the understated part that magic plays.  The reader can choose to believe that magic occurs in Mori’s life or that Mori uses the idea of magic to explain all the chaos and sadness in her life, to protect herself from ugly reality.  Walton pulls this off very subtly.  I was left a bit unbalanced, as if shifting from on foot to the other, not an unpleasant experience.

This novel is a love letter to the outsider, to books,  reading,  science fiction and fantasy.   All I can say is read it.

Other reviews:

Jenny’s Books

Rhapsody in Books

Stainless Steel Droppings

things mean a lot

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21 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Review, SciFi, Young Adult

21 responses to “Among Others by Jo Walton

  1. I think telling people to read it is about all that needs to be said, it is one wonderful book. So good that I’ve read it twice already.

    And I choose to believe that the magic is all real. :)

    • I also believe the magic is real, and now I am determined to read and reread many of the books that Walton mentions in Among Others.

  2. This sounds very, very good. I like the idea that magic plays an understated part and there seeme to be many other elemenst i would like..

  3. I loved the portrayal of magic too. And I loved that magic wasn’t the focus of the book, even at the end when it became pretty important. She recovered in other ways! :)

  4. I’ve seen so many great reviews for this book! I’m glad that you enjoyed it too!

  5. I loved the subtlety as well. So glad you enjoyed it, Gavin!

  6. Everytime I read a review of this book I think: Argh, why have I not read this already? I know I’m going to love it. Maybe because I know I’m going to want to own it, and I’m still squeamish (read: cheap) about buying hardcovers? I clearly need to get over it and just read it, already. :)

  7. ::scribbles on TBR list:: Sounds like it would be perfect for this lazy, bookish Saturday morning…I wish I already had a copy at hand!

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