Who Is Frances Rain? and P. G. Wodehouse

Going to talk about two things today, a great book and writing styles.

Has anyone else read Who Is Frances Rain? by Margaret Buffie? Apparently it's also known in the United States as Someone Else's Ghost. I don't remember how I first came across this book. Must have been a choice from the Scholastic catalogue.

"It's going to be a long, hot summer for 15-year-old Lizzie. Normally a vacation at her grandmother's northern Manitoba cottage is the highlight of the year, but this summer the whole family is going along, including her new stepfather whom she detests.

To escape the family's bickering, Lizzie explores a nearby island, where she finds the remains of an old cabin and uncovers a pair of spectacles. When she tries on the old glasses she is surprised to find herself watching a woman and girl from the past. Lizzie is determined to find out who these ghosts are, and why they are appearing to her. Enlisting the help of her grandmother's teenage neighbour, Alex, she puts together clues about the ghosts' identities and in doing so, finds a way to help her estranged family reunite."

The book has won all sorts of awards, including the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canadian Book Award. I've reread it a few times since that first read, and fall in love with it each time. It was part of a jumble of Canadian YA books I read when I was a kid and they each showed me a different way of being Canadian - and introduced me to parts of Canada I'd never seen.

I haven't lost my love of this genre. I'll be reading Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson this weekend!

And now, writing styles. Specifically, the transferred epithet, which is when an adjective is applied to the wrong thing. The Inky Fool wrote about this the other day, in reference to that master of the transferred epithet, P. G. Wodehouse:

"I balanced a thoughtful lump of sugar on the teaspoon"

"He was now smoking a sad cigarette"

Aren't they lovely? And yet I can't imagine using this style in my own writing at all. Not unless I happened to have a character who talked this way naturally...

Are there any styles you love but haven't used yet?

Also, here's Stephen Fry on Wodehouse. Just because.


Sarah McCabe said…
P. G. Wodehouse is a master. I absolutely adore his Jeeves and Wooster stories. It is impossible to be anything but happy while reading them. And Stephen Fry was, of course, the perfect Jeeves.
There are many styles, but writing for children makes some of them 'out of bounds'.
Trisha said…
Frances Rain sounds pretty cool! Thanks for the edumacation! hehe
L'Aussie said…
Oh Deniz there's lots of styles I love but haven't used, but to find your writers voice I think I need to keep a certain style for a while. Maybe I'm wrong.

I also think it's weird when books get renamed in other countries. Why is that? I get the different covers, but names (unless there's something culturally specific??

Anonymous said…
I haven't read Buffie's book yet, but I'm going to look it up on Goodreads right now.

I loved Dogsled Dreams.

Have a great weekend.
Jon Paul said…
Some good recommendations!

I'm not sure if awards are your thing, but I've given you one over at my place. Thanks for keeping things so groovy! :D
Great recommendation. The fact that it has won awards makes me want to read it more (obviously) because other people have signed on to say "this is good".
Deniz Bevan said…
I agree Sarah - Fry is Jeeves.

That's true, Carole, especially for younger children, I expect.

Hope you get a chance to read it Trisha!

I find renaming very weird, Denise. Like Aussies and Brits and Canucks and Yanks are each attracted by different titles - say what?

I'm on Chapter Three of Dogsled Dreams, Medeia, and loving it so far!

Ooh, an award! Thanks Jon!

I'm with you, Michael. I usually try to look at the Publisher's Weekly review too.

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