Friday, October 26, 2012

Is There Still Room For Scares...?

We were surprised this morning to read an interesting tribute to John Bellairs and The House with a Clock in its Walls by Erik Adams at the Onion AV Club:


Bellairs’ tendency to repeat himself aside, The House With A Clock In Its Walls still retains the power to spook by suggestion, all while allowing the atmosphere of a small town with dark secrets to unfurl from its pages like the “grainy, blowing mists” that envelop Lewis during a magical, mid-book diversion from his uncle, the jovial wizard Jonathan Barnavelt. Though their backstories were fleshed out in later books, much of the sense that anything can happen in The House With A Clock In Its Walls comes from the minimal explanation given to the magical powers possessed by Jonathan, kindly witch-next-door Florence Zimmermann, and the wicked sorceress Lewis accidentally raises from the dead, Selenna Izard. Magic is a fact of life in New Zebedee—not one Bellairs ever takes for granted (there’s always a sense of wonder about the tricks and spells Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman pull), but also not one he wastes any time weighing down in mythology.

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