A FEW weeks ago I got a historical novel, written for adults, called Little, based on the life of Madame Tussaud. I soon learned that my 12-year-old son had beaten me to this author’s work: He’d already read Heap House, the first novel in the outlandish, fantasy-based The Iremonger Trilogy, aimed at precocious kids. I was lucky enough to speak to the writer, Edward Carey, about how he kept it all straight, and how slight the differences between categories are.
Part of what I most enjoyed about our conversation was discussing fairy tales: Carey teaches a class on the subject at the University of Texas, and spoke quite eloquently about the continued relevance of the form. His description of our current president as a figure from a folktale — a surly, oafish, overgrown king who has so frustrated his intimates and advisors that nobody tells him the truth anymore — was especially dead-on, I think.
Space limitations kept me from getting into how obsessive and accomplished an artist Carey is. He illustrates all his books himself, and in the years he was trying and failing to write a novel in Tussaud’s voice, he was somehow able to create, and display, visual images of her.
Anyway, the story, from the Los Angeles Times, is here.