Among Others by Jo Walton

I loved this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and inspiring. It’s about Mori, a young girl whose world just changed dramatically. There was an accent where twin sister died, and she was injured as well. Unable to live with her mother’s family any longer, she gets sent to a father she never knew, and from there onto a boarding school. She can’t live with her mother, because her mother is an evil witch.

Or at least she might be. The book is told as a series of diary entries, and it isn’t clear whether or not our narrator is reliable. She either has a very active imagination, or it’s a remarkable work of magical realism.

This is what magical realism actually is, not the urban fantasy that so often gets pointed to. The magic is treated with such matter of factness. Of course there are fairies, and her mother is a witch. There could be other explanations, but it might as well be magic.

It’s a very genre savvy novel. Mori is a huge science fiction and fantasy geek. These books are her refuge from the real world. The novel is set in the late seventies, and we see her read her way through the best of new wave science fiction. It references authors I love, and makes me want to go read others, who I’m sure must be good since they’re mentioned in this book. There was one part about not wanting to die because there was a book she hadn’t finished yet, which was just so perfect. That’s so much of my whole life philosophy. I really don’t get how other people don’t see that as enough incentive for staying alive. There are so many books, and tv shows, and movies, and comics, and records.

Stay alive so you can read this book, it’s really incredible. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. There’s a family story, and a quest, and just enough romance. It has really interesting things to say about the power of fiction, and about disability. It’s a brilliant magic book and I loved it.


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