Friday, October 13, 2006

Lemony Snicket Gives Us The End


I've just finished the last of the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events books.

I'll jot down a few quotes to make you smile.
Book the Thirteenth, dedication
For Beatrice --
I cherished, you perished,
The world's been nightmarished.

Chapter Fourteen, dedication
For Beatrice --
We are like boats passing in the night --
particularly you.

Chapter Fourteen, epigraph
O Mort, vieux capitaine, il est temps! levons l'ancre!
Ce pays nous ennuie, o Mort! Appareillons!
Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l'encre,
Nos coeurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons!

Chapter Fourteen, translation of epigraph
O Death, my captain, it is time! let us raise the anchor!
This country wearies us, O Death! Let us make ready!
If sea and sky are both as black as ink,
You know our hearts are full of sunshine.

By the way, the epigraph is from "The Journey" by Charles Baudelaire.

Okay, and one more from the middle of the book. To give it context, the Baudelaire orphans are in one of their usual very dangerous situations, and they are reading a book as fast as possible to find a way out of it. Because of the urgency:
... the siblings had to skim, scanning each page for the words [they were looking for]. As you know, if you've ever skimmed a book, you end up getting a strange view of the story, with just glimpses here and there of what is going on, and some authors insert confusing sentences in the middle of a book just to confuse anyone who might be skimming. Three very short men were carrying a large, flat piece of wood, painted to look like a living room. As the Baudelaire orphans searched for the secret they hoped they would find, they caught glimpses of other secrets....

I had to stop for about 10 seconds to laugh here, because it turns out I was reading so fast to get to the end of The End that I was skimming a bit, and the three very short men did confuse me.


cloudscome said...

I have been avoiding these books because when I started the first one a few years ago I hated it. Thanks for the quotes, it gives me a new perspective. Maybe I should give them another try?

Nancy said...

Hard to say. Some people love the books, some people hate them. I am in the "love them" camp, obviously. I love the way he uses language and the narrator's voice -- reminds me a lot of what William Goldman did with the Princess Bride, and makes me laugh out loud.

Maxine said...

Same thing (skimming) happened to me with Harry Potter 6. We went on holiday to France this summer and bought the CD to listen to on the long drive. The richness was amazing, when one had to "read" it at the pace of the voice. We were all in tears.

My daughter is very keen on the LS books, but her take on the last one (which she started to read literally the second it went on sale and finished 3 hours later) was very dark. I think I'd better read it myself to see if her take-home message is right.

Erin said...

I saw the epigraph and meant to translate it myself, but thank you for doing it for me!

All I can say is, thank Mr. Snicket for the last chapter. Thank you for the happy ending!

(Some people might not like the ending, but I did. So very much.)

Nancy said...

Maxine, I think the ending has some melancholy to it, but is still reasonably hopeful.

I am so hoping for a Quagmire Triplets series now. It could be really great to see their story from the beginning and then see how theirs overlaps with the Baudelaire series.

At A Hen's Pace said...

I guess my head has been in a bucket--I hadn't even heard that the last one was out!

Off to the library to get it before my daughter does....

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

That sentence (Three very short men were carrying a large flat piece of wood, painted to look like a living room.) Lemony Snicket throws in to confuse people who are skimming is actually from chapter twleve of the first book on page 134. It is descibing the back stage action as Violet and Klaus prepare for their scene of The Marvelous Marriage.

Anonymous said...

That is a nice review, and anonoymous IS right :) .

Anonymous said...

That epigraph is by Charles Baudelaire, which is kind of ironic if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Because Violet, Klaus and Sunny's last names are Baudelaire. I get it! I didn't know that; thanks!