Thursday, April 8, 2010
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass, by Lewis Carroll
Had to take a break from the stack of books Dad unloaded, er, gave me. This is one of those books that I always meant to read when younger but never got a round to it, (or round tuit, if you know what those are).
I tried to read through the introduction by Tan Lin, but like the conversations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I found myself spinning around and just getting more confused. It felt like Lin was simultaneously reiterating her main point and never getting there. If the introduction was supposed to be absurdly nonsensical to match the actual text, then there was success, only in a much more dull fashion. Can you tell I'm not a literary critic? FAGH!
The stories are what you want to read. Don't go into it with any preconceptions, including those you may have from watching Disney's movie version, which I noticed has hit stores again recently.
In Adventures, Alice follows a white rabbit down its hole in an attempt to escape the boredom of her older sister's lessons. All the laws of physics, gravity, ecology and anything else that pertain to the real world are turned upside-down, backwards and otherwise topsy turvy. In Looking-glass, Alice steps into the world of her living room mirror, and ends up in an absurd chase over a giant chessboard complete with queens, kings, knights, and pawns.
I think I like Looking-Glass better. I’m especially fond of the knight who keeps falling off of his horse. He has all sorts of stuff packed on the horse, he’s prepared for just about anything, and despite his inability to ride he never fails to pick himself up and try again. He’s very courteous and a perfect gentleman. Throughout both stories, little puns and verbal misunderstandings accentuate the visual absurdities. I think kids could enjoy the fantasy and the adults the verbal jousting. Good fun but probably best in small doses, like a chapter at a time.