Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories

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9780060555344: Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories

What if your strangest dreams and wildest imaginings turned out to be . . . well . . . true?

In this riveting collection, master storyteller Diana Wynne Jones presents wildly unpredictable tales in which even the most routine lives are visited by extraordinary events:

  • A writer's character infiltrates her computer and makes her an accomplice in his cyber revolt
  • A sick girl's drawings come to life -- with a vengeance
  • A vet's dream about a wounded werewolf is interrupted by a startling phone call
  • A cat tells how the kindhearted wizard she owns is suddenly called upon to defeat a horrific Beast
  • These fifteen stories and one novella -- including three works never before published in the United States -- will tickle and enchant, startle and surprise.

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    About the Author:

    Diana Wynne Jones was raised in the village of Thaxted, in Essex, England. She has been a compulsive storyteller for as long as she can remember enjoying most ardently those tales dealing with witches, hobgoblins, and the like. Ms. Jones lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons and two granddaughters. In Her Own Words...

    "I decided to be a writer at the age of eight, but I did not receive any encouragement in this ambition until thirty years later. I think this ambition was fired-or perhaps exacerbated is a better word-by early marginal contacts with the Great, when we were evacuated to the English Lakes during the war. The house we were in had belonged to Ruskin's secretary and had also been the home of the children in the books of Arthur Ransome. One day, finding I had no paper to draw on, I stole from the attic a stack of exquisite flower-drawings, almost certainly by Ruskin himself, and proceeded to rub them out. I was punished for this. Soon after, we children offended Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat. He complained. So likewise did Beatrix Potter, who lived nearby. It struck me then that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant (even if, in Ruskin's case, it was posthumous), and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.

    "I started writing children's books when we moved to a village in Essex where there were almost no books. The main activities there were hand-weaving, hand-making pottery, and singing madrigals, for none of which I had either taste or talent. So, in intervals between trying to haunt the church and sitting on roofs hoping to learn to fly, I wrote enormous epic adventure stories which I read to my sisters instead of the real books we did not have. This writing was stopped, though, when it was decided I must be coached to go to University. A local philosopher was engaged to teach me Greek and philosophy in exchange for a dollhouse (my family never did things normally), and I eventually got a place at Oxford.

    "At this stage, despite attending lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, I did not expect to be writing fantasy. But that was what I started to write when I was married and had children of my own. It was what they liked best. But small children do not allow you the use of your brain. They used to jump on my feet to stop me thinking. And I had not realized how much I needed to teach myself about writing. I took years to learn, and it was not until my youngest child began school that I was able to produce a book which a publisher did not send straight back.

    "As soon as my books began to be published, they started coming true. Fantastic things that I thought I had made up keep happening to me. The most spectacular was Drowned Ammet. The first time I went on a boat after writing that book, an island grew up out of the sea and stranded us. This sort of thing, combined with the fact that I have a travel jinx, means that my life is never dull."

    Diana Wynne Jones is the author of many highly praised books for young readers, as well as three plays for children and a novel for adults. She lives in Bristol, England, with her husband, a professor of English at Bristol University. They have three sons.

    From School Library Journal:

    Grade 6 Up–This collection of 15 short stories and one novella begins with the autobiographical "The Girl Jones," about nine-year-old Diana. Among the selections that follow, readers will find stories about a science-fiction writer who becomes involved in an interstellar revolution, a haunting encounter with werewolves and a sinister fool, and a talking cat cursed with long life. In the concluding novella, four children become embroiled in intrigue over an innocent prince, an evil count, and a brave outlaw. All of the selections have characters that are both appealing and realistically flawed, and the worlds they inhabit are brought to life through detail and humor. Each story smoothly draws readers in and brings its own mood and adventure. This is a good choice for collections in which the author has a following, though the lack of "Chrestomanci" stories and the somewhat daunting size may put off readers. The hefty volume includes most of the selections from Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories (1985; o.p.) and Believing Is Seeing: Seven Stories (1999). However, the lack of overlap with Stopping for a Spell (2004) and Mixed Magics (2001, all Greenwillow), along with the new tales included, makes this a solid addition.–Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY
    Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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