By: Diana Wynne Jones
Re-read finished: 05.03.14
The only life Hayley has known is within the tight confines of her Grandmother’s rules and the gentle, but distracted care of her Grandfather. Hayley has a spirit that yearn for adventures and when her imagination invades Grandmother’s boundaries, she gets shipped off to stay with her many aunts and cousins. In the middle of a bustling family for the first time in her life, Hayley joins in their secret game played in Mythosphere, where all the stories that have ever been told converge. The Mythosphere is a marvelous place, but it’s controlled by a tyrant that only Hayley can stop.
This one’s a novella, if you want to be technical, but there’s a complete and brilliant world packed inside. It is perfectly delectable for its small size. I came across it somewhat accidentally while I was casually familiarizing myself with Jones’ canon. I loved it. And when I read the appendix explaining who the characters represent in Greek mythology I loved it even more. Every time I re-read this one I discover something new, even though I practically know it by heart now. Jones does a genius job capturing the essence of these Greek characters (or just a particular aspect of their personality) and making them into people you might meet on the street.
There is a certain amount of magic involved given the existence of the Mythosphere and the ability to traverse it. Still, the magic is almost underplayed — it’s just something that happens so why make a fuss? Truly, this is one of the richest morsels of literature that’s out there and after all these years, I’m still head over heels in love.