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Author Topic: Lemony Snicket
Matej
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I've just finished The End. And The End of The End.

In the end, or rather, overall, I really enjoyed this series.

Based on my new philosophy of looking for depth where by all rights there should be none, this one does really well.

And by 'depth', here, I am not referring to The Grim Grotto. Though perhaps I should.

Any other fans besides imp's kids?

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ursus arctos
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Ursus minor loves this series with a passion.
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lyra
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I gave one to my nephew in law and never heard a word back. I would like to though; personally I thought they got better and better (not read the most recent couple).
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Matej
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I certainly thought they got better and deeper as they went along. The first few are ridiculously clever and amusing, but some of the later ones are really quite sad and truly dark.

The moral questions are very interesting, with the combination of re-thinking adored (and dead) parents and the orphans having to confront their own questionable actions.

Lemony Snicket might just be one of the best authorial voices of our generation as well. A unique personality in the narrative.

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My name is Mumpo
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i've started reading The Bad Beginning to m'lovely daughter, a chapter a night. this evening we embark upon chapter four.

the previous three instalments have been enthusiastically received.

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Matej
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Cool. How old is your daughter?

Does she enjoy the: "a phrase which here means" moments?

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My name is Mumpo
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she's nearly seven, so the "a phrase which here means" moments just blend into the 'me telling her what the long words mean anyway' moments. at the moment she's not quite sure what to make of the 'Unfortunate Series' experience, but the fact that after each chapter she's busrting with ideas as to what might happen next is encouraging.
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Matej
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heh... That's very good. I think she'll be suprised often enough to stay interested.

I can't remember the type of book I read at seven, so I can't really tell how much of the humor (& darkness) she'd get in the later books.

Very interested to know her opinion though, over the series.

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My name is Mumpo
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Five chapters into Book Four, 'The Miserable Mill' and bedtime without a chapter of Lemony Snicket's dolorous disclosures is almost unthinkable. The wretched monotony of the Baudelaire orphans' forlorn existence is becoming more palpable as the Series progresses and the merest trace of Count Olaf's malignant presence is anxiously anticipated in each paragraph.

So, thumbs up all round.

I have a question for you, Matej, although a helpful response from anyone will be greatly appreciated. On The Gothic Archies' album 'The Tragic Treasury: Songs from A Series of Unfortunate Events', each song is based on a different book from the Series. Do the lyrics reveal important plot details? Or am I safe listening to it before reaching The End?

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Matej
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I think you'd be fine. I can't think of any spoilers in the lyrics. If you've read the song titles, that's about the depth of the plot you'd get from the actual songs. Which to say, isn't much at all.
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Matej
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Incidentally, I'd say Book Six is where the series really takes off the most.
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My name is Mumpo
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Well, that's the Series over. A couple of nights ago we, too, read The End of The End. Eight months to complete 170 chapters (plus two Not a Chapters), splitting longer chapters over two nights as the books became more complex. Eight months is a long time, and I didn't realise how inimitable the Series was until last night, when I was ploughing through m'lovely daughter's bookshelf trying to find something of comparable quality to read. I'm going to have to buy The Beatrice Letters or the Unauthorised Biography tomorrow, just to fill the Snicketless void.

I found the later stories incredibly affecting. Not because they were rife with darkly disturbing calamity, as suggested by the Series' title, but because they just become so deperately empty. The knockabout, kidnap-caper plots of the early volumes dissolve completely by The Slippery Slope, leaving a vacuum that the author fills with some devastating moments of melancholy and dubiety. A grey pall descends over the black and white certainties of the earlier volumes. The plots become incredibly slight, replaced by extended meditations on the nature of honour and loyalty. You do end up wondering if it was ever Snicket's intention to take the Series so far from its roots.

I can't recommend them enough. Reading from these stories each night has been an exceptionally special experience, one that I think both I and m'lovely daughter will look back on with a great deal of fondness.

[ 20.01.2008, 22:07: Message edited by: Major Eazy ]

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Matej
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Glad to hear all that Major.

I've recently read one of Snicket/Handler's adult novels (The Basic Eight) and reading that one could get the sense that the series was always heading towards an ambiguous ending as it did.

On the other hand, I read an interview with Snicket/Handler where he admitted that if he could, he would go back and change a few things in the first books, so maybe he didn't have everything planned out from the start.

One thing about comparing the overall series of books to the movie is how lightweight the movie ends up being in comparison to the full written series. The melancholy and lack of black and white makes far more impact than just the 'doom and gloom gothness' of the movie (and the first several books).

I thought the autobiography was great by the way. Very funny with some clever insight on being Snicket.

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My name is Mumpo
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Just this lunchtime I've found a very nice edition of the Autobiography, with a fold-open hardcover, in mint condition, for three quid in Oxfam. Result.

Agreed that there was no way the movie series could have continued in the melodramatic manner of the one they made. Perhaps the second batch of three volumes might just have fit the bill, but from there on it all becomes pretty unfilmable, at least in a way that's going to entertain youngsters (and give Jim Carrey a chance to ham things up royally).

And I'm with you on the evolution of the books, too. The first few were pitched just about right for a seven year old but to be honest, by The End, a ten or eleven year old would have had a much better grasp of the concepts involved.

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