I picked up Among Others for a few reasons. First, it won a Hugo. Second, it’s by a woman author who I haven’t read. Give me something by McCaffrey or Le Guin or Cherryh and I’m happy. It seemed like a good idea for me to find out what contemporary women authors in SF/F were saying.
As I read this book, I kept having the thought that I was surprised the author could get away with what she was doing. She had essentially written a book about where she had grown up and all the books she had read, disguised as another character reading them instead. She had written a book about reading and passed it off as something great.
But, it is great. I’m sure that Jo Walton has read all those books that her character reads in the story. I am also sure that she knows the landscape she is writing about. But there is so much in the story that she doesn’t know, and which she makes up so beautifully. The story comes together in this fantastical journey that is about so many things. You can get lost in this story like you can’t in others. You can become that character – Morwenna – for a little while through her journal entries. You can read the books she’s reading and see the fairies she sees and it is all magical and wonderful.
As soon as I put this book down, I picked up a Heinlein – The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. I had an insatiable need to read one of the scifi masters. You’ll understand after you read Among Others.