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Fire and Hemlock [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Diana Wynne Jones
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12. April 2012
Polly Whittacker has two sets of memories. In the first, things are boringly normal; in the second, her life is entangled with the mysterious, complicated cellist Thomas Lynn. One day, the second set of memories overpowers the first, and Polly knows something is very wrong. Someone has been trying to make her forget Tom - whose life, she realizes, is at supernatural risk. Fire and Hemlock is a fantasy filled with sorcery and intrigue, magic and mystery - and a most unusual and satisfying love story.

Widely considered to be one of Diana Wynne Jones's best novels, the Firebird edition of Fire and Hemlock features an introduction by the acclaimed Garth Nix - and an essay about the writing of the book by Jones herself.

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  • Taschenbuch: 432 Seiten
  • Verlag: Firebird; Auflage: Reprint (12. April 2012)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 9780142420140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142420140
  • ASIN: 014242014X
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: 13 - 17 Jahre
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,2 x 14 x 3,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 118.914 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"...Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers' hopes and fears..." Publishers Weekly -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


In the mind of a lonely, imaginative girl, who can tell where fiction ends and reality begins? An epic fantasy, spanning nine years...The fire and hemlock photograph above Polly's bed sparks memories in her that don't seem to exist any more. Halloween; nine years ago; she gatecrashed a funeral party at the big house and met Thomas Lynn for the first time. Despite the fact that he's an adult, they struck up an immediate friendship, and began making up stories together -- stories in which Tom is a great hero, and Polly is his assistant. The trouble is, these scary adventures have a nasty habit of coming true...But what has happened in the years between? Why has Tom been erased from Polly's mind, and from the rest of the world as well? Gradually Polly uncovers the awful truth and, at Halloween nine years on, realises that Tom's soul is forfeit to demonic powers unless she can save him. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Erinnerung oder Vorstellung? 9. Juli 2012
Von Villette TOP 500 REZENSENT
Polly ist 19, als sie merkt, dass etwas mit ihren Erinnerungen nicht stimmt. Bisher hatte sie immer gedacht, ein sehr langweiliges, erlebnisloses Leben geführt zu haben. Doch plötzlich drängen Erinnerungen in ihren Kopf, die sie nicht einordnen kann. So geht sie gedanklich noch einmal zu den Anfängen zurück, als sie 10 war. Und plötzlich wird ihr ganzes Leben ein anderes. Offenbar ist dies tief verbändelt mit einem gewissen Thomas Lynn, an den sich nur keiner zu erinnern scheint. Hat sie selbst sich ihn nur ausgedacht? Das kann nicht sein, merkt sie, zu sehr ist alles, was sie jetzt ist, auf ihn zurückzuführen, auch wenn sie ihn völlig vergessen hatte. Eine spannende Suche nach ihrer Vergangenheit, ihrer Identität und der Zukunft von ihr und Thomas Lynn geht los...

"Fire and Hemlock" ist meiner Meinung nach das beste Buch von Diana Wynne Jones. Es ist sehr komplex erzählt, ohne dass man jemals ahnen könnte, wie es weiter geht. Die Geschiche fesselt daher sehr. Nie kann der Leser sicher sein, was die Wahrheit ist und was nur von Polly ausgedacht. Das Buch gehört zwar in die Kategorie Fantasy, wirkt aber bis fast kurz vor dem Ende nie so. Das macht es angenehm zu lesen auch für Leser, die dieses Genre nicht so gern haben. Besonders bei der Zeichnung der Figuren hat die Autorin gute Arbeit geleistet. Da gibt es nichts Schablonenhaftes, alles ist aus schwarz und weiß zusammengestrickt, mysteriös und unergründlich. Ich empfehle das Buch sehr gern ab 14.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful and haunting 10. Februar 2003
Von Ilana Teitelbaum - Veröffentlicht auf
I had to give this book five stars, even though it isn't perfect. The plot is confusing at times, with holes that could have been filled in if the author had done some tweaking. Another drawback is that some of the best characters--like the quartet--tend to be given short shrift. Yet even with these drawbacks, a fantasy of this calibre is not likely to come along often enough so as to be taken for granted. Hence the five stars.
As I mentioned above, there are plot holes, but this is a side effect of the chief beauty of this book: its mystery. The story is set in our world--1980's England, to be exact--and the fantasy elements are laid on in subtle nuances of depth and detail. A slight otherworldly quality--almost too subtle to be detected--mars an otherwise commonplace funeral. Everyday events take on the significance of revelations. The magic itself is of the type that more often than not creeps at the edges of things, pervading the story with an atmosphere that is by turns haunting, fascinating, and occasionally hilarious.
With a deft hand the author weaves the ballad of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer together with the story a young girl, and soon enough the magic of legend and her mundane life intertwine. Polly is a "hero" in more than one sense: not only by virtue of her role as it is projected in the ballad, but also due to her struggles to cope with an increasingly unbearable living situation. It is not only the darkness of evil magic that Polly must eventually face, but also its everyday counterpart: the divorce and callous negligence of her parents.
The cast of characters and their relationships are wonderful, down to every last individual; it is their believability and richness that makes this book impossible to put down. There is also a refreshing realism in their interactions that plays a necessary counterpoint to the otherwise murky strangeness of the atmosphere. Children grow to adulthood as we watch them, their friendships and alliances change; the relationship between Polly and Tom Lynn grows ever more complex, undergoing constant shifts and adjustments.
You will find this book in the Young Adult section, but most readers of fantasy know that this is no reason to be put off. Diana Wynne Jones is one of the best YA fantasy writers around, and this is one of her darkest, deepest, and most complex books. You may need to reread it to fully understand what has happened by the somewhat bewildering conclusion--but if you enjoy it the first time, that should not be a chore, but a pleasure.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen "But Aye She Grips and Holds Him Fast..." 6. Januar 2005
Von R. M. Fisher - Veröffentlicht auf
"Fire and Hemlock" is possibly Diana Wynne Jones's most complex and subtle novel, and it's certainly not for the younger readers who've enjoyed her most famous work, the "Chrestomanci" novels. It is most basically described as a retelling of the Tam Lin/Thomas the Rhymer ballads, set in 1980's England over a nine-year period. Needless to say, it is dense and complicated, filled with hidden meaning, metaphor and symbolism where two threads of life are wound together to make an intricate whole.

Told predominantly in flashback sequences, we begin when nineteen-year-old Polly Whittacker is packing to go to college when her memory begins to stir. Her recollections of a book and a picture on the wall are not as she remembers them, and only when she concentrates and really begins to think does she realise that she seems to have two sets of memories - one of a mundane school life, and one that is filled with the mysterious and supernatural: all centred around a man named Tom Lynn.

She begins to re-follow this thread of her life, beginning with her meeting with Tom Lynn when she accidentally joins a funeral at the grand Hunsdon House held by the strange Leroy family. Pursuing the strange friendship, Polly and Tom make up stories where they exist as superheroes named Tom Piper and Hero and meet many times to discuss this sense of reality they dub `Nowhere'. But something strange begins to happen - these stories of theirs have a way of becoming true, and it all seems to have something to do with Tom's sinister ex-wife Laurel and her designs for Tom and Polly.

Throughout this however, Polly also must deal with the somewhat crazy exploits of her school-friend Nina and the selfish actions of her divorcee parents: the negligence of her father and the utter self-delusion of her mother who blames everybody but herself for her problems. Also is the attentions of two young boys - the sulky Sebastian and the roughish Leslie, both of which have links to the Leroy family and their grim family heritage.

To get the most out of "Fire and Hemlock" you must be a patient and careful reader - I'd even go so far as to say it's necessary to read the book twice to fully understand it. There are so many details and plot threads that it's difficult to keep track of them all, especially when you consider all the action is melded with a different set of memories that Polly must sort out in her mind as the book goes on (not counting the range of stories that she and Tom make up!).

The characters are as usual wonderfully and vividly created and interact realistically with each other. Polly's grandmother in particular is a woman worth knowing, but the flamboyant Nina, the sullen Sebastian and the sad, haunted Tom are also beautifully presented. However, the one character I couldn't really warm up to was Polly herself - for reasons more instinctive than reasonable, I just couldn't really like her that much, and I'm afraid I'm not really sure why.

"Fire and Hemlock" is also the author's most descriptive book - usually she doesn't bother to much with details, but in this case she takes the time to carefully lay the setting, resulting in an evocative and interesting atmosphere whether it be the spookiness of Hunsdon House or the sterile cleanness of Polly's father's apartment.

The main problem with this book is that it is incredibly complicated: even after three reads I'm still a little baffled as to how and why certain things happened - the last chapter in particular is very ambiguous and unsatisfactory in its wrap up concerning Polly and her relationships with the other characters. Although she does explain certain mysteries, they are usual explained in just a few sentences which are easy to miss or not understand properly. This is rather frustrating since it's a beautiful novel which deserves to be savoured and understood - yet it's extremely difficult to do just this thanks to the lack of cohesiveness.

As a sidenote, this novel along with "Howl's Moving Castle" are Diana Wynne Jones's favourite works - with that in mind it pays to read it carefully. All in all, it is one of DWJ's most challenging books, but ultimately one of the most intelligent, intriguing and rewarding.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Tam Lin, or Tom Lynn? 9. Mai 2002
Von E. A Solinas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Fire and Hemlock" is one of the newly reprinted books by Diana Wynne-Jones, and definitely worth a read. This is one of those books that so easily could have turned into cheeze, or a mediocre modern-fantasy tale devoid of magic. Instead, virtually every word and event is permeated with subtlely fantastical elements.
The tale starts when nineteen-year-old Polly, looking at a "fire and hemlock" picture, suddenly remembers her old friend Thomas Lynn -- the problem is, how could she have forgotten him? And why doesn't anybody else remember him? Shifting back in time, we are shown how the preadolescent Polly wandered into a funeral, and met the quiet, mild-mannered Lynn there.
He remains a presence, through letters and occasional meetings, all throughout her teenage years. The two play a fantasy game through their letters -- but then Polly starts seeing it reflected in reality. To make things worse, Lynn's strangely sinister ex-wife seems to have a strange power over him. But what it is? Who is she? And how can Polly free Lynn before it's too late?
This is, in places, not an easy book to read; not everyone in it has a happy ending, and Polly's life is in some ways not a happy one. We see her seesawing between her paranoid mother, who believes that everyone is trying to keep secrets from her (almost to the point of mental illness); her father, who seems absorbed in his stepfamily; and her kindly grandmother who is one of the few stable points in her life. Jones never downplays the real pains of adolescence; there is no cheap "teen angst" here. Rather, we have Polly growing and maturing, recognizing the harsher parts of reality. One of the most striking parts of the book is when we are shown how shallow and pathetic one of Polly's former friends is, someone who previously seemed bright and vivacious. Her embarrassment when coming to her father's, her shock when her mother ships her out, and her intermittent feelings of loneliness and playfulness are all well-drawn and excellently written.
With a minimum of effort, Jones provides good "atmosphere" for the supporting characters as well, especially Lynn. He's actually present in relatively little of the novel, but his presence permeates it. The grandmother is nice, as are the friends -- both past and present -- of Polly's; they range from being shallow and petty to quieter, but more loyal.
This book is not as humorous as some of her other novels, though there is a sly jab at Tolkien imitators in one of the letters from Lynn. There is also some slightly more mature material, in a VERY mild joke by a slutty classmate, and the reference to a friend of Polly's briefly running off with a businessman. That, and the no-happily-ever-after vision of divorce.
Why four stars? Well, because I simply could not understand how things happened at the climax. I reread those last chapters six times, and was no closer at the end to understanding what the heck happened there. It is, however, outstandingly written. The descriptions are lush and full of magic.
Fans of multilayered fantasy, "Tam Lin", and a solid coming-of-age story will want to check this out.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fire and Hemlock 28. Januar 2005
Von Diana - Veröffentlicht auf
I'm a big fan of Diana Wynne Jones, and have read nearly all her books--I think I like this one nearly the best; I say "nearly" because of the ending. The story has so many strengths, particularly the overall vision and voice, the brilliant, incisive characters, and the various relationships-- Polly's on-again, off-again relationship with Nina, her painful relationship with her horrible parents, her loving relationship wtih her grandmother, and the deepening, complex relationship with Tom. As so many readers have pointed out, however, this ending is confusing, and even though I hugely admire Jones' creativity, quirkiness and willingness to leave in mystery, I ultimately have to say that the ending detracts rather than adds. I've read it three times now, and here's my two cents:

1. Polly and Tom are true lovers, and at the end, Polly has won Tom, and saved him. In other words, it's a happy ending. And one reader is absolutely right to say that unlike the myth, Polly must let go of Tom in order to save him.

2. The way she saves Tom is very confusing. I don't understand why Jones rushes through it; she really ought to have slowed down, and added about ten pages (my daughter says twenty, woven throughout the book.) But what she's saying is, since their love is impossible "nowhere," then THEREFORE, it's possible somewhere (think of it as a logic puzzle): p. 420: "If two people can't get together anywhere..." they can therefore get together "nowhere" (Remember that "nowhere" is both a fairy place, and also, as it says in the book, both a dead end AND that very alive blank space that comes BEFORE CREATION: "Two sides to Nowhere, Polly thought. One really was a dead end. The other was the void that lay before you when you were making up something new out of ideas no one else had quite had before." (p. 405) So in this sense, "nowhere" is that space/time just before the creation of their love.

3. The main confusing thing, I think, is that the rules of the fairy/witch people seem to be elaborate, but are not set down--Polly seems to know it, just like that --she mysteriously knows exactly what to do in order to use magic to find Tom on that fateful day (HOW does she know?) & then she mysteriously seems to know all the rules the fairy people abide by, in the end. It's like Jones herself knows it all, and somehow imagines we readers do too. It's really irritating, like going to a party in which there is an in-joke that everyone else is laughing at, and you have no idea what it's about, but everyone else assumes you should. Laurel seems to be bound by all sorts of 'rules,' but we don't really know them. Polly somehow knows them, and what follows in the end is like a court of law, in which suddenly Polly has become a lawyer, though we readers have no idea what the rules are: She says on p. 408, "I claim that Morton Leroy has forfeited his right to Tom's life. And he'll have to find someone else or go himself." And she proceeds to argue that since Mr. Leroy tried to kill them, he has messed up since Tom's life is 'sacrosanct' - "Morton, my dear," Laurel says, "I think you may have been rather foolish." p. 410, and then Laurel essentially sends Morton and Tom on a trial for their lives. THe loser dies in order to give Laurel her next life. The trick is that anything Tom does, anything, will be matched by Morton--and this is why Polly must lose him in order to have him.

It's good, but simply sudden and arbitrary. The book would really have benefited by making these things clearer, by slowing down, and letting the reader feel the shift from realistic to metaphysical, in the end, rather than the very abrupt shift that there is now. It could easily, easily have been edited in, and I really don't understand why Jones didn't.

I have tons of other questions, too: For instance, why does Polly suddenly remember now? How? (From a book, she says-but surely she's read other books before this)

But I've still given the book five stars. I just think it's such a creative book, and even though the ending is too abrupt, its vision and sense is so strong and quirky that it remains one of my favorite Jones books.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Music and magic 17. August 2002
Von ViolaNut - Veröffentlicht auf
Okay, I confess - though I read much of Diana Wynne Jones's oeuvre in middle and junior high school, I'd almost forgotten about her books until I went into Harry withdrawal post-Goblet. How stupid of me - this is a wonderful writer whose books are definitely not just for kids. I now regularly search the racks whenever I wander into a bookstore (in other words, every few days) and was thrilled yesterday to find this title, which I hadn't read before.
On to specifics - I'm not going to summarize, that's done adequately elsewhere - but to start with, I could not put this book down. I started reading it around 12:15 AM, thinking "I'll just read a few chapters, whet my appetite, then go to bed." Nice try. 420 pages later, it was 3 AM and I was quite tempted to read the whole thing again. Partly because of the writing, which is absorbing, idiomatic, and (for you fellow Americans) not so terribly British as to be noticeably odd (although I DID finally prove to my parents that yes, "busking" is a real word of British origin - for non-musicians, it means "playing on the street with your case open for money", basically, and other people DO do it). And that brings me to another reason I love it, the musical aspect. Besides being a manic bibliophile, I'm also a string quartet addict, so when Tom Lynn strikes out to form a quartet, I'm right there with him - one of the few things that makes life worthwhile, as far as I'm concerned. Those scenes rang true, as well, which doesn't always happen when a writer seeks to insert musical color, so kudos there. The fantasy and magic aspect isn't nearly as overt as in some of her other works - no moving castles, other worlds, or oddball wizards here - but is instead woven in gently, becoming more visible as the story progresses, until you realize it's been creeping up on you for a while. Eerily believable.
Unusually, the book is almost all flashback - when we meet Polly Whittacker, she is 19 years old and getting ready to return to college for her second year, but most of the story takes place between her ages of 10 and 15. I like it - it's different, and getting all that back story in is not an easy task for a writer without letting all the seams show. When we finally arrive at the present, the pace rockets forward - the last 50 pages absolutely fly. Also unusually, things are not fully explained in the "Coda" - you have to work them out yourself to some extent. Hooray for a writer who doesn't feel she has to spoon-feed readers everything! And as a final aside, you could do a lot worse than to take the list of books Tom Lynn mails to Polly over the years and use it as a summer reading list, no matter how old you are. Diana Wynne Jones is my major (re)discovery of the year - good kids books are worthwhile at any age; they usually don't have swears or love scenes, but if it's well-written you neither need nor miss them, so don't be ashamed of picking up a book that may say "10 and up" or "young adult" on the cover. After all, "and up" means anything over.
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