Friday, 2 January 2009

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

Having watched the film again over Christmas, I decided it was time to revisit the book for the umpteenth time. And what it a joy it was to do so.

I’ve been a fan of DWJ’s books since they first appeared. I read Wilkin’s Tooth to various classes when I was teaching and have followed them ever since. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favourites.

Whilst it contains a DWJ trademark plot of complexity, this never detracts from the very simple story at the heart of the book. Fairy tale motifs are seamlessly woven into the author’s own vision and good use is always made of the comic potential (just how do you stop if you are wearing seven-league boots?). And all this told with a unique view of the world that is both charming (in many senses) and invigorating.

All in all, a great way to start the year – a well written book that is fun to read.

And a note on film adaptations. In this instance, the film departs from the book in a number of ways. Yet it also manages to keep the essential story and uses some devices that actually enhance it. I am still in two minds about the steam-punk Edwardianism, but it was nonetheless a well made film and enjoyable in its own right.