Monday 18 February 2013

The Homeward Bounders - Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is an author that I've heard about from my best friend for most of my reading life, but only come to discover for myself in the last couple of years. Homeward Bounders is the best I've read so far, encompassing layers upon layers of jaw-dropping genius.

Enough of the gushing, Edwards! Tell us about the book.

When Jamie stumbles upon Them, the mysterious hooded figures who use his world as the setting for their games, he is exiled onto a circuit of worlds, doomed to wander until he can find his way home. On his travels, he meets Helen and Joris, fellow "Homeward Bounders" who, like him, have fallen foul of Them and sent from world to world.

Homeward Bounders crosses the boundaries between genres as Jamie and the others cross between worlds, encompassing myth, fantasy, science fiction and adventure as only children's fiction can. I have got lost in Diana Wynne Jones' books in the past, but this one came alive as I read, a complex, multiverse-spanning plot that nonetheless makes perfect sense. It appealed to my love of adventure, varied settings, limitless imagination and pathos. In the last section, I realised before Jamie did what was going on - but not in a "too-obvious" way. Wynne Jones' narrative style is simple but not simplistic, and her story is sophisticated indeed. In fact, I think that Homeward Bounders transcends mere children's fantasy fiction to take on a mythical status of its own.

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