Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones

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Un giorno, tornato a casa da scuola, Howard trova un gigante piazzato in cucina che dice di essere stato mandato da Archer per riscuotere le 2000 parole che Quentin, padre di Howard, non aveva ancora consegnato quella settimana. In breve tempo Howard e famiglia comprendono che Archer è uno dei sette maghi che gestiscono la città: Archer si occupa delle banche e dell’energia, altri della fogna, della polizia, della criminalità, della musica e così via.

Come capirà la famiglia Skyes il potere dei sette è notevole, ma i maghi non hanno modo di conquistare il mondo perché sono misteriosamente prigionieri nei confini della città. Nessuno ha ben compreso il motivo, ma tutti ormai pensano che dipenda proprio da queste 2000 parole che Quentin consegna ogni due settimane e di cui ora tutti vogliono entrare in possesso.

Archer’s Goon è un bellissimo romanzo di avventura che ha il pregio di entrare subito nel vivo e di tenere accesa l’attenzione del lettore fino all’inaspettato finale.

Il romanzo è anche un omaggio alla letteratura: i sette maghi controllano la città come il Grande Fratello Orwelliano (Archer’s Goon è stato pubblicato nel 1984) e alcuni riferimenti rimandano proprio al romanzo 1984. L’autrice ci ricorda anche il potere della scrittura, e infatti i sette potenti vedono nel testo scritto da Quentin l’ostacolo da superare per diventare ancora più potenti.


* Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★★★

*Ho letto questo libro in inglese

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Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones

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Leggi questo articolo in italiano


One day, coming back from school, Howard finds in the kitchen a goon sent by Archer to collect the 2000 words Howard’s father Quentin failed to deliver that week.

Soon Howard and his family understand that Archer is one of the seven wizard who rule the city: Archer deals with banks and energy, other deal with sewage system, police, crime, music and so on.

The wizards have great power, but they aren’t able to conquer the world because they are prisoners within the city boundaries. None of them knows the reason of it, but they are certain that depends on Quentin’s 2000 words and every one of them want to have them, and they will not restrain in using their power in order to convince Quentin to write other words.

Archer’s Goon is a beautiful adventure novel that goes straight to the heart of the matter and that keeps the reader attention till the unexpected ending.

It is also an omage to literature: the seven wizards control the city like Orwel’s Big Brother (moreover Archer’s Goon was published in 1984), and some references point out to the novel 1984. The writer underlines also the power of writing, and the seven powerful ones see in Quentin’s words the obstacle to overcome to gain more power.


* Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

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Una guida per il fantasy, un’analisi completa che mostra schemi ricorrenti e punti deboli del genere, il tutto scritto senza dimenticare umorismo e sottointesi rimandi ad opere ben note.
Più sotto riporto il commento, qui condivido una delle voci del glossario, anche perchè in questo caso la potenza del linguaggio la si può percepire solo leggendo.

HORSES are of a breed unique to Fantasyland. They are capable of galloping full-tilt all day without a rest. Sometimes they do not require food or water. They never cast shoes, go lame, or put their hooves down holes, except when Management deems it necessary, as when the forces of the DARK LORD are only half an hour behind. They never otherwise stumble. Nor do they ever make life difficult for Tourists by biting or kicking their riders or one another. They never resist being mounted or blow out so that their girths slip, or do any of the other things that make horses so chancy in this world. For instance, they never shy and seldom whinny or demand sugar at inopportune moments. But for some reason you cannot hold a conversation while riding them. If you want to say anything to another Tourist (or vice versa), both of you will have to rein to a stop and stand staring out over a VALLEY while you talk. Apart from this inexplicable quirk, Horse can be used just like bicycles, and usually are. Much research into how these exemplary animals come to exist has resulted in the following: no mare ever comes into season on the Tour and no STALLION ever shows an interest in a mare; and few Horses are described as geldings. It therefore seems probable that they breed by pollination. This theory seems to account for everything, since it is clear that the creatures do behave more like vegetables than mammals. It also explains why the ANGLO-SAXON COSSACKS and the DESERT NOMADS appear to have a monopoly on horse-breeding. They alone possess the secret of how to pollinate them.

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The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

A guide to the fantasy, a complete analysis that shows recurrent patterns and faults of this genre, all written without forgetting humor and implied references to the great work of this genre.
Keeping on reading there is my comment, here I chose to share one of the glossary entry because I believe that in this case the power of language could be perceived only by reading.

HORSES are of a breed unique to Fantasyland. They are capable of galloping full-tilt all day without a rest. Sometimes they do not require food or water. They never cast shoes, go lame, or put their hooves down holes, except when Management deems it necessary, as when the forces of the DARK LORD are only half an hour behind. They never otherwise stumble. Nor do they ever make life difficult for Tourists by biting or kicking their riders or one another. They never resist being mounted or blow out so that their girths slip, or do any of the other things that make horses so chancy in this world. For instance, they never shy and seldom whinny or demand sugar at inopportune moments. But for some reason you cannot hold a conversation while riding them. If you want to say anything to another Tourist (or vice versa), both of you will have to rein to a stop and stand staring out over a VALLEY while you talk. Apart from this inexplicable quirk, Horse can be used just like bicycles, and usually are. Much research into how these exemplary animals come to exist has resulted in the following: no mare ever comes into season on the Tour and no STALLION ever shows an interest in a mare; and few Horses are described as geldings. It therefore seems probable that they breed by pollination. This theory seems to account for everything, since it is clear that the creatures do behave more like vegetables than mammals. It also explains why the ANGLO-SAXON COSSACKS and the DESERT NOMADS appear to have a monopoly on horse-breeding. They alone possess the secret of how to pollinate them.

Continue reading