In late January, I drove to Massachusetts for two baby showers in two days. As is my wont, I listened in the car to Lemony Snicket audiobooks, in this case The Miserable Mill and The Austere Academy. Mill, the fourth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, is almost entirely to pattern. The only change is that Violet, normally the inventor, has to read something to help them escape the latest series of unfortunate events, and Klaus, normally the reader, has to invent something; alas, it's something that breaks my suspension of disbelief—which is very, very generous for these books.
Academy is much more interesting, because for the first time, we have an ongoing plot. In the present, we meet the Quagmire triplets, Isadora and Duncan (their sibling, Quigley, was killed in a mysterious fire), who fall victim to a series of unfortunate events that will carry over at least the next two books. And our narrator discloses more about his past, suggesting that he has a more-than-academic interest in researching and documenting the story of the Baudelaire orphans. (Also, Sunny's getting better at talking!)
These audiobooks are read by the author, who isn't as good at is as Tim Curry—but "not as good as Tim Curry" still leaves a lot of room, and I fell into them sufficiently that I had to suppress the urge to call people "cakesniffers" for a couple of days.
When I got back from my trip, I wanted to find out what happened next, and Chad just happened to have the next book, The Ersatz Elevator, out from the library. More tantalizing hints, no resolutions yet, but ends with the series taking a slightly different direction. In our near future is a trip to the library to get the next ones.
(Occasionally, I admit to wanting a little more complexity than I'm going to get out of these. In Mill, for instance, I badly wanted to know what was up with Charles. I could spin half-baked psychological theories out of perceived subtext: but ultimately, I just don't think there's that kind of subtext in these books. Terrible puns made literal, sure; meta-narrative, absolutely; but psychological depth, not so much. Oh well, one can't have everything.)
(Though, speaking of subtext, did anyone else read the Quagmires as being set up as future romantic interests for the Baudelaires? [Violet/Duncan and Klaus/Isadora, I feel the need to specify.] And was anyone else bothered by this? I mean, they're pre-pubescent.)
Finally, I would normally end these entries with quotations, but the items have gone back to the library. Fortunately, one can rely on Chad for these things: The Miserable Mill, The Austere Academy, and The Ersatz Elevator.
#7 :: dude wrote on May 24, 2007 at 6:26 PM:
Subscribe to comments on this post: RSS feed
Post a comment: