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A book to give you an identity crisis, whether you need one or not

27 July 2019

HexwoodHexwood by Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very weird and rather disjointed book.

It’s a bit like The Wizard of Oz to begin with. Ann Stavely goes for a walk in the woods and finds she isn’t in Kansas Hexwood Farm Estate, any more. There’s a wizard and a tin man and a boy.

It then gets a bit like The Time Traveler’s Wife, which may seem odd, because this book was published before that one, but that doesn’t matter, because with time travel anything is possible, including books published later influencing ones published earlier.

Add a bit of Malory and King Arthur and his knights of the round table, a rogue machine that thinks it’s the Holy Grail and a bunch of paranoid control freaks at the heart of the galaxy who think that there is a problem because the earth tail is wagging the galactic dog, Finally a cast of characters who aren’t who they or anyone else thinks they are, and you have a plot that’s enough to give you an identity crisis, whether you need one or not.

I’d just finished reading The Zahir, (see my review here) where the author/protagonist recommends erasing your personal history and starting again, and the characters in this book do that several times over so that none of them lasts long enough for you to get to like them or hate them before they become someone (and in some cases something) else.

A week ago I listened to someone talking about identity politics. I’m still thinking about that and wondering if I should blog about it. But these two books perhaps add something to the mix, something more to think about.

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