Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Hidden Land

The Hidden Land (The Secret Country Trilogy, Vol. 2)

Pamela Dean

Date: 2005-07-21 17:15:02   —   $6.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Fantasy, Juvenile

For years I thought Pamela Dean was a strange and unusual writer. The primary cause of this was the Secret Country and the Hidden Land, two books which obviously went together. I was completely unaware that there was a third novel (out of print for some time before I acquired the first two.)

The reason for this is that The Hidden Land has an ending, a strange and adult ending that is utterly maddening, the ending that has the protagonists walk away from the magic. The message of this ending is that you don't always get to finish the story, that sometimes all you can do is walk away and never find out what happened. It is strange and very much in the style of a different form of fiction than fantasy, and I thought it deliberate. (Dean's book The Dubious Hills, set in another corner of the same world, did nothing to disabuse me of that notion.)

You can try reading it that way, because it does work, in a fashion. It is, however, far more comfortable to go on to read the third book.

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