Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tears of a clown

So, September was not a good month for blogging, as it turns out I only posted on two days, and it's October now. I wonder what I was up to? (Actually, I think it was a heck of a lot of training ... me training other people.) Anyway, today I started a staff exchange with a colleague -- we are working one day every two weeks at each other's library location -- and, while Belmont is a crazy, busy branch (much busier than the Children's Library downtown), I'm not sure how much of my work is portable enough to do while I'm here. So, hopefully, I'll at least be able to catch up on my blogging while I'm here (perhaps the Belmont staff won't be so appreciative of that!).

In the nearly three weeks since I posted, I've finished four titles, none of which sent me, but am now midway through a really GREAT one: Mimus. This is a German novel that was just translated into English, which invites Cornelia Funke comparison. (For those of you wishing information on the author in the original German, here's Wikipedia.) Although the story is nothing like the Ink... series, it is another beautifully crafted adventure story that if I were reading it, I'm pretty sure I'd be racing through ... but having to go at the pace of the narrator isn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly since the narrator is so good.

The kingdoms of Moltovia and Vinland have been at war for generations, but now a peace treaty has been signed, and young Prince Florin of Moltovia has been invited by his father to attend the ceremonies taking place in Vinland. When the prince arrives, he learns that all the representatives of Moltovia have been killed or captured. The captives, including his father, have been thrown in the dungeons and left to the tender mercies of Antonius the torturer. Florin -- who shows some wit to his captors -- is apprenticed to the Court Jester, Mimus (pronounced Mee-muss). In this society, however, jesters are just another form of animal life: Florin (now called Little Mimus) and Mimus live in the stables and are fed slop by the bestiarius, Rollo. Florin is told that should he try to escape, his father will be killed. His suffering is profound and very real, but he is starting to forge something akin to a friendship with Mimus. And ... just as I stopped listening this morning, hopes of a possible rescue have been raised.

The narrator is Maxwell Caulfield (sexy TV star? ... well, I guess if you watched Dynasty) and he is just splendid. He reads with a kind of raw innocence that perfectly depicts young Florin, and then offers wonderful interpretations of some of the other characters -- most particularly Mimus (who is unpleasant, bitter and yet extremely sympathetic) and the terrifying sadist, King Theodo of Vinland. While I'm fairly certain that all is going to end well, and the telling of this story is wonderful, I'm still pretty much dying to know how it will end.

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