Winner of the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel
Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel
Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Jo Walton's Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.
Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead.
Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…
Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
One of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books 4 Teens titles of 2011
One of io9's best Science Fiction & Fantasy books of the year 2011
About the authors
Jo Walton has published thirteen novels, most recently Necessity. She has also published three poetry collections and an essay collection. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002, the World Fantasy Award for Tooth and Claw in 2004, the Hugo and Nebula awards for Among Others in 2012, and in 2014 both the Tiptree Award for My Real Children and the Locus Non Fiction award for What Makes This Book So Great. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are much better. She gets bored easily so she tends to write books that are different from each other. She also reads a lot, enjoys travel, talking about books, and eating great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.
- Short-listed, World Fantasy Award - Finalist
- Nominated, Locus Awards - Nominee
- Winner, Hugo Award - Winner
- Winner, NPR Best Book of the Year
- Winner, Nebula Awards - Winner
- Long-listed, Romantic Times Book Award
Not the book it at first appears to be...This is one of those books that people seem to either love or hate. I thought the description was not really a good way of telling people what the book was about...although I don't know how else it could be described. It is one of those books that sort of eludes description and neat summary.
The book is written in diary format, which honestly, I don't always like. In this case, however, I found myself quite drawn into Mori's mind. I wondered throughout whether her perceptions were real or delusional (and no less real to the person experiencing them). The main event of Mori's life, that which forms the basis of her finding herself where she is (the confrontation with her mother and death of her twin) takes place outside of the book. The story that follows is the aftermath, the piecing together, of her life following those events.
In some ways, this book reminded me of Fire and Hemlock, by Dianna Wynne Jones. In Fire and Hemlock, we get to see a list of what must have been considered by Wynne Jones to be the best and most influential literature for children and young adults. In Among Others, Mori's experiences and perceptions are so influenced and motivated by her love of reading, particularly science fiction, and I think we see what must have been loved and breathed by Jo Walton at some point in her own life. As a reader, I love to see those influences brought out as such an integral part of the story telling. As a lover of books from childhood to adulthood, it brought me to a level of profound understanding of and empathy for the characters in both novels.
In the end, Among Others is a book of layered storytelling; of pictures being pieced together; and of parts moving and fitting and refitting. It is not a straightforward fantasy or magical realism tale, but something that requires thought and allowing the story to settle itself on the reader in its own time.