Friday, July 10, 2009

The Wide Window

"It's miraculous!" Klaus cried, as the flame took hold.
"It's unbelievable!" Aunt Josephine cried.
"Fonti!" Sunny shrieked.
"It's the scientific principles of the convergence and refraction of light!" Violet cried, wiping her eyes.

- page 180

The Wide Window finishes the three books that constitute Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, although the stories told unfold in a slightly different way. Once again the Baudelaire orphans are taken to a new home -- one would hope a safer one. Alas, the home in particular hangs over a leech-filled lake, held up only by a few rotten beams. Their "Aunt" Josephine is positively neurotic, terrified of everything from falling sofas to realtors. The titular wide window resides in Aunt Josephine's library (a large collection of books on grammar) and overlooks the lakeside. If living with Aunt Josephine wasn't unpleasant enough -- with her various neuroses and her obsession with grammar -- the kids soon realize that Count Olaf is in pursuit of them, now in the guise of the aptly-named Captain Sham.

It is needless to say that Count Olaf once again connives a plan to make the Baudelaire orphans and their fortune his that is once again foiled by the constantly-maligned orphans -- although this time Olaf's plan is a touch more sophisticated than "Kill the legal guardian and take the kids". It involves a forged letter and preying on the terror of Aunt Josephine. Although I already know how the story would unfold -- this is part of the movie -- I still enjoyed reading the book, as the narration is fun to read. Lemony Snicket's humor is often dry, ironic, and a little subversive in that he talks to children as people instead of as children. Assuming the books are present in the library next week, I will be continuing in the series.

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