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Joel C

P.D. James

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I'm curious about P.D. James. I read through 'The Children of Men', and found it slightly dull and pragmatic, especially the ending. However, I've heard great things about James as an author, so I'd like to give her another try. Any suggestions about where to go from here?

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I'm curious about P.D. James. I read through 'The Children of Men', and found it slightly dull and pragmatic, especially the ending. However, I've heard great things about James as an author, so I'd like to give her another try. Any suggestions about where to go from here?

Joel,

I just read 'The Children of Men' last week and I completely agree with you. I thought the premise was fascinating and the world was so clearly set up, but the characters and plot development seemed unfinished somehow. Have you seen the movie? It's completely different, but I always find it interesting to see how books are translated to the screen. I'll be interested to see what others recommend...

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Well, I liked The Children of Men best of all the James books I've read (not that I've read many of them), so I probably wouldn't be of much help to you. :)

It's been many years since I read any other James novel than that one. I seem to remember liking Original Sin, but being really freaked out by Innocent Blood. To this day I haven't been able to figure out why she would have ended that one the way she did. Granted, I was younger and got freaked out more easily in those days, but still, it left a bad taste in my mouth that never quite went away.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

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I think I've read every P.D. James detective story featuring Adam Dalgliesh. I think they're some of the best crime fiction around. That being said I couldn't finish Children of Men. While I'm 100% behind the idea of the book the writing was so wooden and didactic I just stopped reading at some point.

If you read the Adam Dalgliesh novels start with Cover Her Face and read them in order as the main character changes and grows throughout the series.

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Yeah, the distant voice in The Children of Men did make reading it somewhat of a chore. The characters never really cohered for me; but maybe that's because I read it in bits over a long stretch of, maybe, half a year.

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Yow, I actually enjoyed The Children of Men! It's the only James book I read, and while it wasn't perfect, I enjoyed it overall.

I have a tendency to dig through used book stores or bargain bins and dig out books that look interesting, so I have maybe six James novels

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She passed away today, Thanksgiving Day, at her home. She was 94.

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Val McDermid on PD James: ‘She faced the darkness head on’

This appropriation of the conventions of the past sometimes misleads people into thinking of James as a cosy writer. The reality is that she is anything but, and she took on those conventions only to subvert them in an often witty way. One thing in particular sets her apart from the mainstream tradition of interwar English crime fiction, with its stately homes and bourgeois villages where reality never rears its ill-mannered head. She understands that murder is nasty and brutal, that it is fuelled by the most malevolent of motives, and she’s not afraid to face that darkness head on. Her understanding of what she often called “wickedness” is creepily accurate. There’s nothing cosy about the murders in her stories, however much their settings mimic those of their forerunners.

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