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So, this one was really easy :)

A book you loved the first time you read it but you can't stand now.

The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

This, for me, is one of those books that the first time you read it is gripping, engaging, and fabulous. You are immersed in a world that has been solidly and beautifully constructed, with a lot of thought going into the construction of religious and political structures, the character interactions and relationships work within and inform the narrative and if you are a bit of a history geek like me, well you are so happy that she makes the pagan dark ages seem real and gritty and the people who live in it seem real as well. And it's from point of view of Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar, which was such a change in arthurian literature. there might also have been an absolutely shocking for me at the time to read Lancelot/Gwenhwyfar/Arthur scene.

And then, I went back to read it...and the magic was gone. The characters were flat and lifeless, and you could see how she made characterisations fit around plot points, and the -isms she was interested in kinda swamped the rollicking good story. I also had studied arthurian history at uni and it has now ruined all arthurian literature for me. Just as well I had read everything before I did that subject

Marion Zimmer Bradley is a really interesting person though, and i would be interested in finding out more about her. She was obviously a very strong individual, who was not afraid to try things; she wrote across a lot of genre fiction from speculative, fantasy, sci-fi and queer fiction, she co-founded the SCA, and was an early supporter of fanfiction, writing two LOTR fanfics herself that were published and encouraging fanficcers to write in her Darkover world. That all went pearshaped and ended in a lawsuit over a similar storyline which cropped up in an unpublished novel of hers and a fanfic version. She was also really open and supportive of paganism as a religious choice, and then quietly converted back to Christianity in her later years. And...her second husband was a child molester, and it seems to a certain degree she was aware of it and ok with it (there is controversy over what she knew and when, but there is no doubt she knew), and that makes it problematic for me to view her only as an author.... so. Anyways, wiki entry here...

Mists of Avalon. Definitely a book I will never read again.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yay, this post seriously made me think.... I read the book. I loved it. And somehow I still do..... and now I'm writing my dissertation and this book is one of the fiction books I'm going to analyse in it, aside with Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles trilogy and Persia Woolley's Guinnevere trilogy, and you are right, studying arthurian theme in serious way definitely ruins the pleasure of reading... The Mists of Avalon was also the very book that inspirated me to write my first fantasy short story and now I'm published fantasy writer.... soo... thank you Ms. Bradley for writing it, without this book my ife wouldn't be the one that I love! ^^

The Mists of Avalon. The book I will never forget. (but after finishing my dissertation I think it will take a while before I will take it from the bookcase again)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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