[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Posting slightly early on behalf of [personal profile] legionseagle, to whom thanks.

This is the last post on the modern Marlows books, so I'd like to take the opportunity to express gratitude to everyone who's contributed, but particularly those who've put time and energy into writing guest posts, and our indefatigable mods. It's not quite all over yet: after a short break we'll be reading the Players books (schedule to follow) and if there's appetite, The Thursday Kidnapping. Thank you!



Someone suggested in one of the earlier chapter discussions that possibly this is the part of the book Forest wanted to write, and she cut and bent her story to make it fit. It would not surprise me; I think there's a difference in tone and atmosphere in these chapters which possibly suggest they were written at a different time or with a different fluency. Discussion?

My personal opinion is that these chapters bear comparison with and have the degree of authenticity Ransome reaches in We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea (although if Commander Walker had been sending his famous telegram about the Marlow boys, I suspect it would have been two words long.)

Nit-picks on sailing issues )

Anyway, as we saw in the last chapter, Nicola duly delivers the fugitive and Surfrider sets off eastwards up Channel to Wotton.

Chapter Twelve: To Sea in a Sieve )

Chapter Thirteen: Overdue )

Chapter Fourteen: Ferry Crossing )

Chapter Fifteen: Night-long )

Chapter Sixteen: Driftwood )

An uneven book, but not a bad note to end on, in my view. Have at it!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Chapter 9: Boy on the Phone )

Chapter 10: Monkey Business )

Chapter 11: Night Ride )

...and that's it from me. [personal profile] legionseagle will be taking the tiller next week, so this is actually my last post on the modern Marlows. It's been fun. Thanks to you all!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Muggins here forgot to post a schedule for this novel. Sorrow!

March 13th: Chapters 1-4: posted here.
March 20th: Chapters 5-8
March 27th: Chapters 9-11
April 3rd: Chapters 12-16, guest posted by [personal profile] legionseagle.
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
First of all, many, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coughingbear for initiating the liveliest set of discussion posts yet, in addition to active and engaged modding. Thanks also to the other mods, [livejournal.com profile] ankaret and [livejournal.com profile] thewhiteowl. Multos grattas.

The schedule for The Attic Term is as follows:

13th February
Chapter 1: Private and Personal
Chapter 2: A Word with Patrick
Chapter 3: Family Dinner-time
Chapter 4: Up in Sara Crewe

20th February
Chapter 5: Telephone Call
Chapter 6: Patrick Uprooted
Chapter 7: Ginty's Clanger
Chapter 8: Shopping Saturday

27th February
Chapter 9: Second Telephone Call
Chapter 10: Repercussions
Chapter 11: Casual Conversations
Chapter 12: One Verse, Set to Music

6th March
Chapter 13: Spilled Coffee
Chapter 14: Consequential
Chapter 15: Rain on the Just
Chapter 16: Daks Goes Home

If anyone would like to take on one of these posts, do let me know, either below or via pm. I'm also interested in getting volunteers to write the posts for Run Away Home, which discussion will run from 13th March-3rd April. Would people prefer to run straight on to the Players' books then, or perhaps think about a set of posts on themes in the the modern books as a whole?

Once again, many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] coughingbear and the mods, and to everyone who's participated to far.
[identity profile] ankaret.livejournal.com
(or, have your mods gone entirely round the bend? The answer, very probably)

As [livejournal.com profile] scarletlobster recently reminded me, seven years ago [livejournal.com profile] thewhiteowl and I were amusing ourselves by writing versions of the Marlows books in LOLCAT dialogue. (We never actually sourced any pictures of cats because it would have been too much work, and anyway, can you imagine the wars about whether Miss Ferguson should be a Scottish Fold or a foxy-looking ginger?)

As the fandom has been going through a renaissance due to [livejournal.com profile] lilliburlero and associates' great work on the readthroughs, I thought I'd link to the posts again so that people who missed them the first time round can share in the silliness.

Autumn Term, The Marlows And The Traitor, The Ready-Made Family, The Attic Term

Run Away Home

The Thuggery Affair

Falconer's Lure, End Of Term, The Cricket Term, Peter's Room
[identity profile] nnozomi.livejournal.com
( I hope it’s all right suddenly to post here; have lurked for some time but not contributed before. Please ignore my ramblings if not interesting/pertinent.)

So I finally read Spring Term and on the whole enjoyed it much more than I expected to, am looking forward to pleasant rereads. Didn’t agree with everything, but there you are. I did take issue, though, with something the author mentions in her afterword: that the Marlows in general and Nicola in particular, usually very much against lying, depart from this point of honor in Run Away Home, and that she has decided to assume this was a temporary aberration and return them to their previous stance in Spring Term.

It seems to me, thinking about this, that Nicola (used as a proxy for most-Marlows-in-general) admits of two kinds of lying: lying for one’s own convenience, which is a bad thing (cf Lois, Marie, Tim and the pears, etc.), and lying in a good cause, which is acceptable. For instance, Nicola’s conscience seems untroubled, at the time and thereafter, by lying her head off to Foley (over Peter’s “death”) way back in The Marlows and the Traitor. This was necessary to save their lives, therefore it isn’t a moral issue. I think the whole Edward Oeschli Project was filed under “a good cause and therefore acceptable to lie about” by the Marlows, excepting Ann. (And possibly, after the fact, Rowan—now there’s a fic I’d like someone to write. I always had the feeling that the last scene of Run Away Home was a major emotional turning point for Rowan, and would have liked to see something of that in Spring Term.)

It also interested me to think about Tim, specifically Tim being told off for lying (about Esther’s absence) by Miss Cromwell just before the Play in End of Term. We’re given the impression that Tim is deeply shaken by Miss Cromwell’s calling her a liar, which—while rather moving—seems a little out of character. My guess would always have been that Tim would think to herself “But obviously it wasn’t a bad thing to do, because if I had come out with ‘Esther’s not here’ the whole Lawrie substitution plan wouldn’t have worked out, but I can’t tell Crommie that because she’ll never see it my way,” and have remained silent, resigned rather than upset. But not? (As well, chance has allowed Nicola here to let the more morally flexible Tim do the lying, a handy escape route which does not seem to give Nicola any qualms.)

I don’t know what I’m talking about any more, but those are some of the ideas I had about the way lying works out in some of the books. Any thoughts…?
[identity profile] tabithabun.livejournal.com
Two random questions: firstly, how do you pronounce Oeschli in your own head?  Eshli? Eeshli? Eskli?  Eesklee?  (These things bother me...for years I said Sanger to rhyme with Hanger and now think probably it's pronounced Sanja.)

Secondly, is it too far-fetched to think that one of the reasons Chas and Rose are so keen to accompany Edward to Switzerland is that's where their mother's plane crashed?  I remember Karen's comment at the pantomime about having to hurry back to Rose and Chas in case they think she's finally abandoned them, which gives her bonus points for psychological insight in my book.  

Oh, and a third question: do you suppose Giles told Edward's father what their name was and was there ever any contact between them?
[identity profile] nickwhit.livejournal.com
Picking up on a comment in an earlier post that Nicola only regarded Patrick as a friend, I rather thought it evolved into more than that - certainly by RAH when Nicola wants to look special at the Merricks' New Year party; and is delighted when Patrick asks her to dance with him 'practically continuously'. And even at the end of RMF, I took the last page about Nicola understanding Persuasion far more than Ginty knew to refer to her feelings for Patrick. (But it's a long time since I read Persuasion.) Whaddya think?
[identity profile] sheep-noises.livejournal.com
This time o' year always reminds me of

1) The Christmas Play in Wade Minster, from "End of Term" (which I don't have atm as my copy gave up the ghost and fell to pieces >:( ) ;

2) The unconventional Christmas Dinner in a cave, with poor old Ann staying home in case the phone rings :( , from "Run Away Home"; but mostly

3) "Peter's Room". For me, this is the most magical of all those magical books. I must admit I've always skipped the bits in Italics, so I still don't know what fantasy it was that they acted out that Christmas, even though I've read it dozens of times. Don't care, either. The wonderful descriptions of the day-to-day Marlow (and a bit o' Merrick) winter doings are enough to keep me going :)

The Dodds

Dec. 4th, 2008 08:58 pm
[identity profile] nickwhit.livejournal.com

Found this discussion on AF elsewhere, in which someone said how much they'd hated the Dodds. And I suddenly thought 'yes! me too!'. Whilst I loved certain things about RMF (Nicola collecting The Idiot, riding home and the fight with Lawrie; the bathroom conversation after Kay's dropped her bombshell), I invariably speed-read through all the Dodds episodes (especially the rescuing-Fob-from-the-wreck episode), even the climactic rescuing of Rose. I felt the same about the Edward storyline in RAH - the more that takes off, the less I'm interested.

For me, AF is at her best not when she's driving forward a plot, but for the way in which she manages to convey her characters' inner life. (Sometimes I think my favourite book is Falconer's Lure, where there is no one major story arc.) And the Dodds, for me, in both books where they feature at any length, are essentially plot devices.

Am I being unspeakably harsh? How does everyone else feel about them?
[identity profile] tosomja.livejournal.com

I've just read RAH for the first time and whilst I enjoyed it, I also found it rather disconcerting.  I found myself unsure which side AF was expecting us to take in the Edward saga and wondered what others felt.    If I've got it right, Edward was snatched by his father as a baby and taken to Switzerland, and his mother refused to follow as she didn't want to live abroad.  When Edward came back to visit, his mother then refused to let him go back to his father (who had, after all, snatched him).  As far as all the Marlows except Ann are concerned, Judith is then the demonised one, with comments about how stupid she was not to just follow him to Switzerland, and particularly how dreadful to have put him into care and all efforts are obviously put into reuniting Edward with his father.  Edward is seemingly quite disturbed by the whole thing and is fairly unpleasant throughout the whole thing.

Several things disturbed me about this book.  One was that no one seemed to communicate at all with Edward - I kept waiting for some sort of denoucement involving Edward, Judith and Felix, where there would be lots of weeping and resolving of misunderstandings, and finally an arriving at some sort of joint custody arrangement which Edward was happy with, or at least some moment when Edward would break down and we would get some glimpse of the distress he was going through, and of the complexities of what was going on.   

Another was how united the Marlows were in their pursuit of returning Edward, and how completely they dismissed Ann's opinion about it - what do you think AF wants us to feel about Ann in this book?  Her religious views are obviously against AF's own, and she comes across as rather dogmatic in othe ways - is her support of Judith meant to be another example of how she takes the side of the law without considering the facts and emotions of the case?  

Then, despite this, it seemed like AF was trying to make the point that the case wasn't cut and dried, by introducing Judith's overdose and also portraying Judith as a likeable character when she appears, but that doesn't seem to lead to much genuine reflection on the part of the Marlows, just momentary second thoughts in some cases. 

But then, after reading RAH, I felt that most of the Marlows did not get portrayed as possessing much capacity for self-reflection, and also didn't appear to communicate much with each other! Giles in particular appeared to simply decide what to do, announce it and then do it.  I was reminded of that comment made by someone (Lois Sanger?) in Cricket term I think (am just remembering so have probably got it wrong) about Nicola thinking, like Rowan, that what more could one ask out of life than to be a Marlow.  It seemed like they just acted, assuming that somehow, their very Marlowness would mean they were on the right side.   

What does anyone else think?  Will a re-reading resolve these issues, or are they intrinsic to the book? 


ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (marlows)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
There’s been a lot of discussion on the girlsown mailing list recently about Marie Dobson and how she is bullied, and Nicola’s character in relation to this. And it’s recently segued into a discussion of how good Antonia Forest is, compared to all authors, not just school story ones. Obviously this is a community of fans, so I’m not really expecting anyone to pop up here and start explaining why they don’t really like Forest (though it’s fine if anyone wants to!). But I thought it might be interesting, since [livejournal.com profile] trennels has been quite quiet lately, to ask here what people particularly enjoy about her – style, characterisation, plot, description, drama? – and examples of that - and indeed what you don't like.

For me she has been a favourite writer since I first encountered her books as a child. Some of her books I wasn’t able to find until I was an adult anyway, and I found them just as gripping. I think her biggest strengths are in her style, and the depth of her characterisation of a wide range of people. Almost no one is unambiguously good or bad in her books, and I’m able to understand and get involved with characters I don’t necessarily like as people, but find fascinating nonetheless. Even someone like Rowan, who is mainly and effectively held up as an admirable person, can and does hold grudges, make mistakes and mishandle people. I think one of Forest’s strengths is her ability – despite plainly having strong views on many things – not necessarily to have her favourite characters share her beliefs, or give one the sense that the world she’s created is being forced into shape to vindicate them. She does I think fail at this in her handling of Ann in Run Away Home and in the accounts given of the post-Conciliar Catholic church particularly in Attic Term – though to the extent that the latter come from Patrick, I think they are in character. Nicola shares some of her enthusiasms – for the Navy, Nelson, and Hornblower for example – but that works very differently.

I don’t rate all the books equally highly, but even those which I consider lesser, such as Thuggery Affair have some scenes I’d be very reluctant to lose, like the canoe trip at the beginning. Though I think Thuggery Affair has too much plot, and that plotting is not one of her strengths. Instead, she’s good at themes, like death and betrayal in Falconer’s Lure and Peter’s Room. In fact I wonder if the school/family story genre suits her partly because it is rather episodic, and I think her best books (Cricket Term, End of Term, Falconer’s Lure) are episodic. There is drama, there are crises, but nothing is fully resolved and other bits of life are always going on around the big moments.

One other aspect which came up on girlsown was whether school stories as a genre are generally not that good when compared to other children’s or adult literature. Thinking about other books than Forest’s with a strong school aspect which I would put on any list of good books, as opposed perhaps to my favourite school stories (not that I am any good at lists, they change every time I make them), I’ve come up with the following on a first think; books that have a strong shape and feel in my mind still, even though I may not have read them for many years:

Frost in May, Antonia White
Charlotte Sometimes, Penelope Farmer
Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild
Swarm in May, William Mayne
Nightwatch Winter, Jenny Overton

(ETA: Am temporarily deleting my lj as I need not to be distracted at the moment; I will be back.)
[identity profile] smellingbottle.livejournal.com
This is an entirely trivial question I have long meant to ask here.

Could some kind soul please enlighten me as to why Lawrie, in response to Nick waking her on New Year's day in Run Away Home, says 'Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits'? To which Nicola responds 'Oh, rabbits, yes, I'd forgotten', after which we're told 'But was too late. She'd spoken.'

Is this somehow connected to bringing good luck in the New Year? (You say 'rabbits' before saying anything else? You invoke the talismanic power of the New Year Bunny?) Although at breakfast Lawrie is perturbed at having forgotten to see in the New Year the night before, and has to be consoled by Giles saying that having eaten twelve mince pies will balance out the bad luck - which I'd never come across before either. Clearly my New Years are very culturally impoverished.

ETA: Thanks, everyone. This was completely unfamiliar to me, and my new-found knowledge has made me resolve never to share a bed with any of you on the first of the month.
[identity profile] smellingbottle.livejournal.com
Partly because of the changing timeschemes, I always have difficulty envisaging the Marlows' clothes, especially the non-handmedowns and the various special party dresses of Run Away Home and Doris's fabrications in Peter's Room.

I don't have a copy of the latter, but in RAH, Nick gets as a Christmas present of a dress of 'green and white striped silk', while Lawrie's has 'a black velvet bodice and black taffeta skirt sprigged with roses', both with matching velvet 'wraps'. Miranda's dress, given to Nicola after the Changear row (with its very specifically seventies tunics with pea-green swirls and tartan trousers), is 'cream-coloured silk, finely pleated, falling from a high yoke' and makes Nick look ravishingly like Ginty. AF is always attentive to fabric and colour, but I, for one, have absolutely no sense of what any of these dresses would look like in practice, other than the fact that Miranda's dress is clearly (at least for Nick) a version of The Platonic Dress which makes the wearer look endlessly beautiful.

(a) Is AF being deliberately non-specific on these, with the aim of not dating her work? Or because she is not all that interested in the specifics of people's appearance, famously non-specific on Esther's beauty etc?
(b) How does anyone else picture these garments?
(c) Bonus points for incorporating references to the Bridesmaid's Horror, anything from Mum's Chest, or their ideas on how an entire school uniform could possibly be scarlet and not make Kingscote look as though it is drowning in arterial blood.
[identity profile] rosathome.livejournal.com

I just moved to America (okay, it's not quite a desert island) and had to make agonising choices about which books to bring.  Specifically about which AF books to bring.  My final list was: The Cricket Term, The Attic Term, Falconer's Lure, Run Away Home and Players Boy.  The last one made it because it's new and I've only read it a couple of times.  I'm starting to wonder if I'll miss End of Term when it gets nearer Christmas.  But the others are just books I can't live without.

So which would make it onto your list?

[identity profile] balooky.livejournal.com
If I actually post this in the correct community, it would be a start wouldn't it? *sigh*

I have a really quick query, basically how old is Giles in RAH?

I think his age is mentioned in Autumn Term so I could work it out, but I've lent my copy to someone.

Thanks - it's bugging me :D
[identity profile] thesprog.livejournal.com
This is my first post (I joined Trennels after talking to people at the conference) so I apologise in advance if I am breaking protocol or anything.

Report on the AF conference )
ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (marlows)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
If anyone was at the conference and feels like writing a report, please do!

This isn't a report, but it is a description of some of the cut bits of Run Away Home that we were given in a booklet at the conference. There was a discussion on Sunday of whether the cuts were a good thing, which I haven't gone into much - perhaps people can add to this in the comments. We aren’t allowed to quote from the unpublished bits directly, but I think it’s OK if I describe briefly what was included. The plan is to publish them with the papers from the conference.

Cut for - is spoilers the right word? And something upsetting. )


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