12.15.2009

Currently Reading: Interworld


Authors: Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

I must say, Gaiman and Reaves can write. Gaiman is the author of many well-known stories, including Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Stardust; Reaves is a television writer who has also done two of the Star Wars books. Their first couple of pages convinced me to bring Interworld home from the library, and I had it read in two days.

The book follows the tale of Joey Harker, a teenage boy with a malformed sense of direction (I can sympathize, being of the "whichever way I think something is, you should actually take the other way to find it" persuasion.) Joey gets lost in town and accidentally walks into another dimension. It's a fascinating story. But the ending perplexed me. Spoiler alert!

Interworld doesn't have a bad ending, just a mildly unsatisfactory one. It left me uncertain of how to rate the book in my own imagination. I enjoyed the writing, the conflict, the juxtaposition of science and magic--really well done--and the character choices. The great escape scene had me totally hooked in ... and then the last couple of pages just fell flat for me. I wanted the main character to receive healing and recompense for his efforts. Instead, as C.S. Lewis said, "if you do one good deed your reward is usually to be set to do another and harder and better one" ... and that worked great in Lewis' The Horse and His Boy, where Shasta/Cor has to save Narnia and Archenland after running at a lion, because he finds his father in the process and eventually becomes a king and gets the girl.

In Interworld, it's the lonely triumph of the hero working with a team of versions of himself and an uncertain future. While the characters are lovable in the book, the idea that leaves me with feels a little nightmarish.

The "Hero/ine learns to be self-reliant" ending may have as much or more intrinsic worth as "Boy gets girl and they ride off into the sunset", but it cannot be quite as fulfilling. Oh well. Interworld makes a good read, anyway.

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