[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Sorry this one's rather late today.

Chapter 12: 'Who did not wish to die' )

Chapter 13: The Flyaway )

Chapter 14: The Homing Instinct )

So that's it: The Thuggery Affair. A novel about drug-running pigeons, don't forget, and at the end the teenage protagonists hang onto enough coke to fuel a City banker through a minor stock-market bubble. In all seriousness, I started this stage of the readthrough thinking I was dealing with a novel with a very daft plot and implausible setting but some brilliant characterisation, set-pieces and writing. I'm now not so very convinced that the plot is so daft after all. Frankly, I reckon it's a miniature ruddy masterpiece: especially these last three chapters. But YMMV: over to you!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Thanks for your comments on last week's chapters. If anyone is interested in doing a guest post on some of The Ready Made Family, do get in touch via pm. I'm planning on scheduling RMF from 21st Nov-13th Dec, after which we might take a holiday (cue for some of us at least to exit, pursued by Yuletide bears) and begin again with Cricket Term in the New Year? How does that sound?

Chapter 8: Old Man Kangaroo )

Chapter 9: Character Part )

Chapter 10: Telling the Tale )

Chapter 11: The Dovecote at Monks' Culvery )

Leaving you on a cliffhanger this time: quite enough from me. Looking forward to your commentary!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Thanks very much for all your commentary so far on The Thuggery Affair. Here's the second post on the novel.

Chapter 5: A Brush with the Enemy )

Chapter 6: Communications Cut )

Chapter 7: The Costume for the Part )

Enough from me. Over to you!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Thanks to all who have contributed to the discussion so far, and to all our guest posters. I’m back in harness for The Thuggery Affair, which happens to be one of my favourite Marlows novels (possibly a minority opinion). It’s probably the most Marmite of the series, anyway. Prepared to be polarised.

This novel has the most threatening dedication that I think I’ve ever read: ‘To Anthony C./who asked for it/(in more ways than one).' Lawks. I’d start running, now. Anyone know who Anthony C. was, and if he survived to tell the tale?

The Acknowledgements seem to express some dubiety over the authorship of ‘I saw a man this morning.’ I’ve never seen it attributed to anyone other than Shaw-Stewart. Tim Kendall has a nice little blogpost about him here. Written into his copy of A Shropshire Lad! Proposing non-penetrative sexytimes with Lady Diana Manners (in the classical tongues)! Adorable.

Forest’s note on the temporal flexibility of the series raises more questions than it answers, I think. Published in 1965, The Thuggery Affair is the first novel in which the setting has notably shifted from a vague late 40s/50s to (rather self-conscious) contemporaneity with publication. Though End of Term and Peter’s Room were published in 1959 and 1961 respectively, there’s nothing very much stopping readers seeing them as essentially continuous with the 1948 in which Falconer’s Lure is explicitly set. Thuggery, however, is fairly emphatically situated in 1964: it’s set at spring half term, and the Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ (released August 1963) is playing on the radio. Forest’s note is dated September 1964.

This effect will be a substantial feature of the series from here on, and I’m interested to hear what people think of it. On the other hand, the setting of the series heretofore has not been all that rigorously accurate, something to which Forest (inadvertently?) draws attention in her note to Thuggery: ‘(who cares that clothes and sweets still had to be rationed in 1947?).’ Well, as several people pointed out in the discussion of Autumn Term, sweets aren’t rationed in that novel’s version of 1947 (Tim is first seen munching chocolate), and though there is mention of Kingscote’s navy uniform being a utility measure in the early novels, clothes rationing (as opposed to Marlow ‘poverty’) doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in the Marlows’ sartorial lives. Is there even one mention of coupons? In my experience of grandparently Second World War (and immediate postwar) reminiscence, coupons loom very, very large. So in a sense, the Marlows have always existed in an alternate universe. Slightly oddly, to my mind, Forest seems to see Peter’s continued attendance at Dartmouth as a major difficulty: I find that relatively easy to accept as a fudge, whereas (for example) Nicola and Lawrie’s birthdate shifting from 1935 to 1951 requires for me a larger suspension of disbelief. Peter will be relieved to know that his author thinks his expulsion from Dartmouth is ‘unlikely’, though. She seems more confident about the matter than he is.

This blog post about Thuggery is well worth a read, for its thoughts about language in the novel, and also for the priceless reflection that

Online reviews bear this out by talking constantly about how difficult the language of the “thuggery” is—to the extent that this particular quirk of the book has almost overshadowed the fact that the book is about drug-running pigeons.

For so it is, and any implausibilities in its portrayal of youth culture do rather pale beside the fact that this is a novel about drug-running pigeons.

It’s also the first and only book in which Nicola does not appear, and I wonder how that affects people’s reading of it? Anyway, here goes.

Chapter 1: 'There’s a Hole in your Boatie'  )

Chapter 2: 'Two Pigeons Flying High'  )

Chapter 3: A Gentleman of the Fancy )

Chapter 4: '...Poor Airy Post'  )

That's it from me: have at it!
[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] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to discussion about Peter's Room and especially to [personal profile] legionseagle for providing a fantastic set of discussion posts. If anyone would like to do some guest posts in the future please drop me a line. I know [livejournal.com profile] coughingbear has expressed an interest in posting on The Cricket Term; if anyone else is interested in any of the upcoming novels, do send me a pm or comment on this post.

Onward to The Thuggery Affair!

24th October

Chapter 1: 'There's a hole in your Boatie'
Chapter 2: 'Two Pigeons Flying High'
Chapter 3: A Gentleman of the Fancy
Chapter 4: '...Poor Airy Post"

31st October

Chapter 5: A Brush with the Enemy
Chapter 6: Communications Cut
Chapter 7: The Costume for the Part

7th November

Chapter 8: Old Man Kangaroo
Chapter 9: Character Part
Chapter 10: Telling the Tale
Chapter 11: The Dovecote at Monks Culvery

14th November

Chapter 12: 'Who Did Not Wish to Die'
Chapter 13: The Flyaway
Chapter 14: The Homing Instinct

[livejournal.com profile] coughingbear can also help with texts for readers who don't have all the books: just send her a pm.
[identity profile] sheep-noises.livejournal.com
I've just read Anne Heazlewood's book, "The Marlows and their Maker". I noticed she calls the Merricks' place Mariot Chase, but I don't recall it ever being called by this (or any) name in the books: I only remember it being referred to as the Merricks' or Patrick's place. Anyone know where it's referred to as Mariot Chase?
[identity profile] tosomja.livejournal.com
I read all the four school Marlow books as a child and absolutely loved them, read them 100s of times etc.  Now I have rediscovered them and realised only for the first time that there were others - I just thought that all the references to the holidays and falcons etc were things which happened 'off-stage', as it were.  So I acquired a version of the GGB Thuggery Affair, but found it really hard going and nothing like as good as the school books.  In fact I gave up once altogether, and then came back to it and managed to finish but wasn't hugely impressed..  I have also acquired The Ready Made Family which I enjoyed much more, but still, not as much as the school books. 
Given that it requires a fair amount of time and money to acquire the rarer Marlow books, it is really worth the struggle? Or are the school books the most popular for a reason?  What do you think - does anyone actually prefer the non-school books?   I don't want to spend a lot of effort on them only to wish that I'd kept to the school books and kept my memories of AF as good as they were!

And also what do you think of the historical ones? Are they as good, and do they connect to the later Marlows in any way apart from the characters being called Marlowe?
[identity profile] ankaret.livejournal.com
By me, with [livejournal.com profile] thewhiteowl. Previous LOLCAT versions of Marlow books are here and here.
Read more... )
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] ankaret.livejournal.com
GIP because I've been making AF quotation icons all afternoon and this is my favourite. The base is from [livejournal.com profile] obsessiveicons, which is fab for that kind of thing.

To make this post not quite a waste of space, can anyone remind me where it is that Patrick sees the moonrise that he later tells Ginty about? I thought it was in The Thuggery Affair when he's driving with Jukie, but I can't seem to find it.
[identity profile] lavenderhill.livejournal.com
Hi there – I am also new to this group, but have been an avid reader of AF for over 15 years. I have all the books, and have re-read them frequently.

I have been thinking for a while that the Marlow stories would make a great early Sunday evening family television series. When you think about it, they combine the teenage school highs and lows of The OC (bullies/ school teams/ boyfriends) with the kind of drama reserved for Eastenders (step families/ runways/ child abduction..). It also has some kind of glamour, as the main protagonists are of a class that most people are not.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realised that the stories would have to be set in the present day, in order to gain enough interest from viewers, and also the backing from a production firm. This started me thinking about how to update some of the storylines, which are often a product of the time they were written in. The telephone saga in The Attic Term, would be an interesting one, although in my mind, I would have Ann owning the ‘family’ mobile, on which calls home are made. Ginty ends up using the office phone due to the queues and lack of privacy on the payphones near the common room. Some schools are strict about mobiles and insist that the housemistress keeps them until after classes are over, and I could see Kingscote doing this, and Ann obviously obeying.

Another issue would be the make-believe in Peter’s Room, which I cannot see teenagers in 2006 doing. An interesting way round this, would be to have ‘Gondal’ as a new online computer game, which they start playing whilst hold up in Peter’s Shippen, and gradually become addicted to – apart from Nicola, who would much rather be herself out doing something! There was some research done about these kind of online ‘quest’ games, where quite ordinary people in real life, are ‘kings’ of these online worlds. This plot would not only allow the story to develop as it does in Peter’s Room, but also look at the effect of kids spending too much time on computers..

The Thuggery Affair I would love to turn into Chavs, but this is probably rather un-PC!! And the Marlows and the Traitor would have to be drug smuggling as I don’t want to touch 21st century terrorism..

Talking to my sister, another AF fan, about this, we got onto the characters. She says that Nicola is unlike any modern day teenage girl. What 12/13/14 year old is mad about the Navy and into cricket? If there was someone like that at school, they would be really picked on by the ‘trendy gang’ .But I don’t know – I think Nicola as she is in the books would work, and I would still have her dropping her new penknife out of the train (do modern trains have windows that open, though?). She is also safe from the ‘trendies’ in that she a Marlow, and is actually part of the Main Clique with Tim, Miranda and Lawrie. I would, however, have Lawrie and Tim as being quite skinny-jeaned/ Top Shop cool, whereas Miranda would be in Seven jeans and a Chloe top. Nick would be more jeans and tatty converse boots (previously Rowan’s). If any of you live in London, the Top Shop, H&M and Zara on Kensington High Street on a Saturday are full of upper middle class teenage girls in all their glory…. Just to give you an idea of what Kingscote girls would be like in 2006…

Anyways, just wanted to share these thoughts, and wondered what you all think. Would it work? Is it worth me writing a proposition and sending it to the BBC??!

Apols for long post...

Hi there

May. 13th, 2006 12:06 am
[identity profile] ex-jo-blogs.livejournal.com
Just a quick post to introduce myself. I discovered the Antonia Forest books many years ago and loved them but never met anyone, other than myself and my sister, who'd even heard of them. A few years ago, a very kind person from the Girlsown list lent me all the ones I didn't own, or had managed to lose over the years. They also supplied me with a photocopy of The Players Boy, which up until then, I had never managed to read. If that person is a member of this community, (sorry can't remember her name) - thank you again!

I then tracked down my own copies of the missing books, so I was finally in possession of a full set. It's great to find a group of fans, I could never understand why her books were such a minority interest, they are so beautifully written. I can't nominate a favourite as I love them all equally, for different reasons.

I do have a very soft spot for The Player and the Rebels, as it was one of only two I managed to keep hold of, in the barren years when I'd lost most of the others. My hardback would doubtless be worth more if I hadn't read it so many times. The others was The Thuggery Affair, which I also love, although I think I read somewhere that it's not as well-regarded as the others. I love it for the absence of Nicola, for the long sequences from other characters points of view, particularly Lawrie. I love Nicola, especially in The Cricket Term and Run Away Home but it's interesting to have one Marlow book without her. Anyway, I've rambled on long enough, looking forward to being here *waves*
[identity profile] debodacious.livejournal.com
In her review of the Girls Gone By Thuggery Affair in the latest Folly Sue Sims suggests that TTA is the least popular book of the Marlow canon because it is the most dated, and includes references to Cilla Black and Cliff Richard, together with the Thuggery brand of idiosyncratic teenspeak. Now, I am actually rather fond of The Thuggery Affair - I love Lawrie and her outrageously unMarlow behaviour in the cinema, I like Peter more here than elsewhere and I always enjoy Patrick and Jukie's drive through the night. When I first read it I think my way of dealing with the slang was to approach it like A Clockwork Orange - I had got to the end of the book and worked out translations for Alex and his droogs before I found the glossary.

Practically everything Girlsownish that I read was written either before I was born or when I was very young and is therefore dated in some way. I was wondering if the reason people are bothered by the datedness of TTA is because it is comparatively recent - does this make it less acceptable than a school story full of 20s slang, or Georgette Heyer's Regency buckspeak?

Tell me what you think.
[identity profile] geebengrrl.livejournal.com
I was wondering what people thought of the cover art on the books (and the illustrations in some of them)? I always think of Nicola and Lawrie as looking like the Marjory Gill illustrations - all big eyes and long thin legs - I think because the first of the books I read was the Puffin edition of End Of Term. I also liked the Toulouse-Lautrec-ish illustrations on some of the later dustjackets (like these ones for The Thuggery Affair and Ready Made Family) - though I could never conceive of Nicola having the mullet hairstyle the illustrator has given her on the RMF jacket.

The ones I definitely don't like are the Faber ones from the 70's, with the floating heads and strange objects in the background - they look like an ill-conceived attempt to tap into the fantasy-fic market. The re-issued Faber version of Autumn Term is pretty, but doesn't look very Marlow to me. The American edition has the same cover that I remember ont he hardback in my school library.

Also, my copy of The Marlows and the Traitor has illustrations inside which make the four younger Marlows look very very much younger than I prefer to imagine them. Does anyone know if any of the other books were illustrated?

Anyway, over to you - do the Marlows in your head look like the Marlows on the dustjackets? Do you prefer one illustrator over another? Do you think cover-art is important? Has anyone managed to collect a full set with matching jackets?
owl: Nicola Marlow (nicola)
[personal profile] owl
Seeing as it's nearly Christmas, I've been re-reading the Marlow winter books.

[Poll #636579]

And why?

Personally, I can't make up my mind. I love all the holiday books except for Thuggery.
owl: Nicola Marlow (nicola)
[personal profile] owl
I was reading Thuggery Affair for the third time this week (and managed to put a giant crease in the cover when I was carrying it in my bag, boo). Anyway, the thing is, spoilers )

ETA: What about the rest of you? What way do you imagine Westbridge and its surroundings—do you have a mental map like [livejournal.com profile] ankaret and I do, or do you never think about it?
And is it possible to draw a map, or are there too many contradictions?
owl: Nicola Marlow (nicola)
[personal profile] owl
I thought people were more likely to have read it now that GGBP have had it out for a bit.

Spoilers )
[identity profile] intrepid--fox.livejournal.com
Oursin's thoughts about Ann's Marlovian qualities made me think about Peter's. I mean, just how Marlovian is he, when you really think about him? He's scared of heights (can't imagine his naval ancestors gibbering in the rigging, somehow) and this fear, coupled with his pointblank refusal to admit to it, gets him into major strife, like freezing on the cliffs, and feeling pressured into breaking back into the Foley house, all just in case people might suspect something most of them already know anyway.

He's got appalling taste in friends, starting with horrid Hugh and kleptomaniac Dickie as described in Traitor, and extending all the way up to Foley. He and Patrick seem to be friends more through force of circumstance than genuine liking. And you can't help suspecting that his mate Selby at Dartmouth is as dull as ditchwater, can you? Of course, you could argue that poor taste in friends is a trait he shares with Ginty, Karen and possibly Lawrie (Ann doesn't have any friends that we ever see).

Possibly because of all the strongminded siblings he's surrounded by, he's underconfident and has a tendency to be dominated by others (Patrick, Rowan, Giles). And in his turn, he tends to bully other people when he feels he can get away with it, shading into the sadistic when he's acting the part of the chief brigand in Peter's Room.

Although he's good at sailing, there's no particular reason to suspect that he's got anything else which will enable him to make a successful career as a naval officer: he's got no head for navigation, panics under pressure and makes seriously stupid decisions about the best way of handling crises (hmm, we have a large gang of drug-dealing thugs. Tell you what, I'll get a bunch of them to chase me round the countryside brandishing bicycle chains and razors, while you break into their house and my (presumably) virginal and inexperienced young sister is left on her own with a horny and experienced gang-member. What's that? Let the police handle it? Naah.)

Thoughts, anyone?

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