Among Others

Opening line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.’

Morwenna ran away from home, age 15, to get away from her half-mad mother whose magic caused a car accident that left Mor crippled and killed her twin sister. She left everything behind: her home in Wales, her books, her extended family, and the fairies. Taken in by her father and very English aunts and sent off to a posh boarding school, Mor tries to make sense of her new life, drawing on everything she has learned from reading science-fiction and fantasy.

I’m not sure how to catergorise Among Others by Jo Walton. It won the Hugo award for Best Novel this year (and rightly so!), and the novel is infused with science fiction. However, the presence of fairies and the workings of magic very much make this a fantasy novel, though set in a real Wales and a real England in the 1970s. Mor is an avid reader, reading at least eight books a week, making use of the school library, public library, her father’s library, and both used and new bookstores. The novel is told through her journal, in which she writes about books, school, and her old and new life. It is difficult to give an adequate summary — nonetheless, I loved reading it. If you love science fiction or fantasy, you must read this book. Even if you don’t, if you love reading you will still like this book (I hope), because it is a book about a lover of books as much as anything else.

If Mor were a real person, I’d love to meet her. I think we’d make very good friends.

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