04 June 2018

Moving on

"I love Flavia but I hate how I've gotten different editions of the titles each time!" says friend and former editor Chris. My own collection agrees.

The eighth instalment of the Flavia de Luce mystery series felt like a transitional volume more than anything. Neither did it have the structural ambition nor the urgency of the past books, especially when it came to discovering whodunnit. And once you had, the revelation wasn't as rewarding.

Rather, author Alan Bradley seemed to focus on shaking up Flavia's life. As if he wanted the young sleuth to graduate from the usual squabble with her sisters, and the narrative to move past the cold, claustrophobic de Luce household. (We can say the new direction started in Book 7th, when the setting went from Buckshaw to Miss Bodycote's Boarding School in Canada.)

But oh how Bradley toyed with my emotions in this one! I saw the big ending coming, but like any good narration, the effect was heart-breaking and unforgettable all the same. If it's an indication, Flavia will be in her teens, and she'll be visited by stranger feelings.

Some highlighted bits:
I have always found there to be a certain sadness about mirrors, since they double the space in a house which needs to be filled with love.


What was he really like?

A walking mirror: a piece of cold glass that reflects all that it sees without ever giving of itself.

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