Re-read: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

cover_of_fire_and_hemlockInspired by this Guardian blog post, I chose Fire and Hemlock as my third Diana Wynne Jones re-read.

This story is a Tam Lin re-telling, and although I am interested in the ballad and interpretations of it, and this book is one of my favourite DWJs, I’ve always felt uncomfortable about the relationship between Polly (Jones’s Janet) and Thomas Lynn.

OK, if you haven’t read Fire and Hemlock, there will be spoilers in this post, so click the Read More button at your own risk.Read More »


Re-Read: The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones


My re-read of Diana Wynne Jones IS continuing, I swear, although it keeps getting interrupted by me being in the mood for other books (currently, Qiu Xialong’s Chief Inspector Chen mysteries). After a hugely satisfying Hexwood re-read, I started on the Unexpected Magic anthology, abandoned that and moved on to The Time of the Ghost.

The Time of the Ghost was my very first DWJ, bought in 1986, in Singapore when I was doing my ‘A ‘levels at National Junior College. I seem to remember a table with books laid out on it, at some kind of market or near a hawker centre. I think it was in Jurong West, where I stayed in a rented room. I still have the book I bought (above), a hardback Macmillan edition, with cover art by Maggie Heslop.Read More »


This evening, I counted my Diana Wynne Jones books for the first time ever. I have thirty-seven. I used to have The Skiver’s Guide, but gave it away. Regret it, but oh, well.

charles and dwj

Here’s my cat Charles with some of my DWJs.Read More »

Re-read: Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

This is the first in a series of posts about my re-reading of selected Diana Wynne Jones stories. I will not be reading them in order of publication, but purely according to what I feel like next. I will also not be reading every DWJ book I own (thirty seven in all).

My first DWJ re-read is Hexwood. I read my third copy of the novel. I left my first (paperback) copy on a chair in Amsterdam airport’s departure area while waiting for my connecting flight to Koln. My second copy (also a paperback) was lost somewhere in KL or PJ — I think it may have been in a post office or similar. The copy I have now is a hardback, ex-library edition, published by Methuen in 1993. I was living in England when Hexwood was first published, but I wasn’t aware of it. At that point I had only read The Time of the Ghost, which I had picked up at a flea market in Singapore. I do remember looking for DWJ’s books while living in England, but not finding any. Odd.

Anyway …Read More »

Tackling DWJ’s ‘Hexwood’ once again

Hexwood_coverI FINISHED re-reading Diana Wynne Jones’s Hexwood  several days ago, and I’m happy to say that it was quite a painless experience.

I’m not suggesting that my previous re-reads of Hexwood have been unpleasant. However, this is a challenging book, probably the most challenging of all Jones’s novels (and they tend to be gorgeously, meatily complex things), and I admit that it’s taken me a while to totally get it.

The problem is that I sometimes (often) skim-read. You can’t skim-read Hexwood. You can’t read it while also watching a tennis match, or even a fluffy chick-flick. Well, you can, and you’ll be able to follow what’s going on in the tennis match and the movie, but you’ll be clueless as far as Hexwood is concerned.Read More »