Saturday, October 09, 2004

Unfortunate Events

About a year ago I started reading Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. These are a bunch of books about three orphans who are continually pursued by the evil Count Olaf and are having pretty generally miserable lives as a result. The author himself constantly warns you that they are horribly depressing books and advises leaving them alone entirely, but that really just sort of adds to their charm.

After I read the first three books, I figured they were enjoyable, but seemed similar enough that I didn't care to read all 10 (actually, I think there's an 11th out now). But a little while ago I found out that there would be a movie about them coming out in December, so I went back to read a couple more. And that's when I started realizing that these books are more interesting than I first thought.

The author has a very definite presence in the book -- that much was clear from the beginning. Around book 4 or 5 though, I realized that he's not just part of the book, he's also part of the story. But he won't tell us exactly how; he just keeps dropping hints, and it's got me totally hooked. I finished book 8 today and I'm to the point where I'm actually taking notes on all the clues that are appearing, trying to piece together how Lemony Snicket fits in with Beatrice and Esmé and Olaf and Jacques and the Baudelaire parents and the fire and everything. It's fascinating.

I also got a copy of Lemony Snicket's Unauthorized Autobiography, which I'd say is worth getting just for the title. It looked like it was going to give a lot away though, so I set it aside after a couple pages. I'll save it for when I finish the series. The detective work is too much fun.

By the way, Count Olaf has a blog. It's done by Paramount rather than Lemony Snicket but still, it's kind of amusing.


Anonymous said...

you know i saw the trailer for this when i watched shark's tale yesterday..i couldn't even tell count olaf was jim carrey..looks kinda neat but'll have to explain what you mean by the author being in the story.

Anonymous said...

oh that was me btw

Graham said...

What I mean by the author being in the story is that he is an actual character, and has (or has had) interactions with the other characters and events. The interesting part is figuring out exactly what that connection is, since he doesn't just come out and tell us. This is different from only being part of the book as an author, e.g. "I'm going to tell you a story about blah blah blah" and such. It's also different from a regular first person novel because the focus isn't on him.