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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cornelia Funke: More on choice by fictional characters

I previously used a post about Cornelia Funke's Inkheart to muse about the possibility of real people becoming part of a work of fiction, and the reverse. The second book in the series, Inkspell, takes this possibility even further. In Inkspell, most of the action is based in a fictional work by Fenoglio. (So, Funke's book describes a world which includes Fenoglio, who has written a book with a different world in it. Fenoglio, and most of the other characters, enter this fictional2 world. Have you got that?) Here's a relevant sample:

If anything, she was even more beautiful than his description of her. But after all, he had sought the most wonderful of words for her when he wrote the scene in Inkheart where Dustfinger saw her for the first time. Yet all at once, now that she suddenly stood before him in the flesh, he felt as lovelorn as a silly boy. Oh, for goodness sake, Fenoglio! he reproached himself. You made her up, and now you're staring at her as if this was the first time in your life you'd ever seen a woman! Worst of all, Roxane seemed to notice it. Cornelia Funke, Inkspell, translated from the German by Anthea Bell, New York: Scholastic, 2005. Quote is from p. 412.

The story doesn't stay exactly like Fenoglio wrote it, either. Characters go on after the events described in the book. One of them dies, for example.

Fenoglio isn't the only person who can translate people, and other things, from our mundane world to another. The protagonist, an adolescent girl, discovers that she can transport things, including herself, into the world that Fenoglio originally imagined. The book was written for a youthful audience, but is a good read for an adult.

As usual, I don't want to give away the plot. But I will say a couple of things about it. There is little or no sign that this is "Christian speculative fiction," but one character gives his life for another's. Lots of loose ends are left, and things seem to be getting worse, at the end, which cries out "sequel!"

If I create a fictional world, does it really exist, in some other plane, or a parallel universe? Do I have control over it? These themes rear their heads in this work by Funke.


Weekend Fisher said...

And if you create a fictional world with good characters, are they aware of you? Can they relate to you? Can they act in ways you don't intend? And if they do, are the results your fault? I love that kind of stuff.

Take care & God bless

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Weekend Fisher. I read your great post on predestination, but couldn't comment, because of issues with Blogger Beta.

Catez said...

This got me thinking about how much emotional energy we invest into the lives of fictional characters. They can seem like real people... Interesting post Martin.

Martin LaBar said...

Yes. Sometimes too much energy, I'm sure, as in the (possibly fictional) story of the woman at church who requested prayer for a character in a soap opera.

With "reality shows" we may also invest too much in "real" characters.