On Mary Stewart the Fantasy Writer

Mary Stewart was a writer of many parts. I remembered her for her children’s books and her romantic/thriller/gothic novels. But Jo Walton, with her usual trick of coming up on topics slantwise (a skill I admire greatly), discusses her as a fantasy writer in her obituary at Tor.

Walton comments:

She was a writer of romantic and Arthurian novels who was never afraid of crossing the border into the fantastic. She had a wonderfully sure voice and a way of using tiny descriptive details to make even the most implausible things believable.

And it’s true, Stewart was not afraid to mix genres and techniques, and she wrote beautifully. You can trust her prose as a reader – it’s sure and clear and precise – and you’re not going to get thrown out of the story by linguistic or grammatical or narrative infelicity.

Inspired by Dinie and the comments of Jo Walton and her readers, I have just bought myself an ebook bundle of all Stewart’s Merlin books. I’d start them right now, if only I didn’t have so many library books to read first.

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