What I've Finished Reading
I finished up The Castle of Otranto
and it continued to be delightfully OTT and ridiculous right to the very last line. I laughed a lot. Especially at the last line. The charm of it is, I think (other than gloomy castles and giant suits of armour and what have you), that it's very hard to tell if the whole thing is some kind of joke, or just bits of it. This seems to have been the question for 250 years, and, indeed, the next book I read, The Old English Baron
by Clara Reeve is quite openly The Castle of Otranto
, the more rational (and therefore possibly not-truly-Gothic) remix.
As Clara Reeve says in the introduction, certain elements of Otranto, "destroy the work of imagination, and, instead of attention, excite laughter." (Walpole apparently responded that hers was, "So probable, that any trial for murder at the Old Bailey would make a more interesting story." Hmm, wait, a novel featuring a real life murder...? Shame he didn't try it, heh.)
It does indeed tail off into a long, plodding fixit of everything, though. It's rather like a tumblr-recommended fixit version of Otranto
where everything is relentlessly put right and all the bad people are punished or grovel and apologise to the good people. I liked the beginning with the locked up haunted wing with the murdered body in it very much, though, mixed with a more recognisable setting. Also its hero Edmund has an amusing tendency to weep over people. (The best bit was at the end where he flung his arms round both
his mentors legs at once and they had to stop him and then he still had to hug them and weep over them.)
But, given that it's still only about 130 odd pages and has a haunted East wing, it was readable and fascinating to compare to Otranto
. I'm glad the collection had them both.
I also read another Daisy Dalrymple (Dead in the Water
), which you could probably tell because fic happened. My friend is coming to see me again this week - I have hopes she might be able to lend me some more, because the only others I've found are quite a few books on from that. (Obviously, I'm looking forward to seeing her with or without books, but with books is always better.)What I'm Reading NowSorcerer to the Crown
by Zen Cho, which, as promised by aralias
, is very light and enjoyable and just my sort of thing. I seem to be okay with it, too. \o/ (The only downside is the inevitable comparison to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
, which can do it no favours. It's a shame she didn't set it, say, 20 years later or earlier to mitigate that. Although, of course, I'm only 100 pages in; there are no doubt very good Plot Reasons.)
(I'm still note-taking from A Mad Bad and Dangerous People?
and technically sort of reading Desolation Island
, but have not progressed far with either since last time.)What I'm Reading Next
Well, if my friend does bring me some more Daisy, there'll be that. And once I've finished Sorcerer to the Crown
, I might try the next Gothic novel in the collection, which is Mistrust
by Matthew Gregory Lewis (author of The Monk