"Then, the bunnies show up" -- Books within Books

Books within books have always fascinated me. Does anyone else remember Dorothy Gilman's The Maze in the Heart of the Castle? It was an important part of her earlier book, Tightrope Walker, that she then wrote on its own account a few years later. I don't remember either book that well, but I do remember how believable the unreal book was, and how disconcerting I found it later when I was actually reading it myself. I had no interest, however, in reading any of the Harry Potter books from the books made real.

There seems to be a trend-let at the moment in giving unreal books life on line. There's The Girl who Cirumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and now, at Grasping For the Wind, you can read an extract from The World in the Walls, by Christopher Plover. This is the first book of the Fillory and Further series, with which the main character of Lev Grossman's The Magicians: A Novel (Viking Adult, August 11, 2009), is obsessed.

From the website of the Fillory series:

"Hi Everybody. This website is a place for fans of Fillory and Further to share their love of the books and the characters and the world they're set in. These books have meant a lot to me when I was growing up and they still do now. If you've ever wished you were one of the Chatwin kids, or that magic was real, or that you could go to Fillory, this site is for you.

This site is also to introduce people who have never read the books to what Fillory and Further is all about. The Fillory books were published in England in the 1930's by a man named Christopher Plover. They are about the five Chatwin children-Martin, Fiona, Rupert, Helen and Jane-and their adventres in a magical land called Fillory. Even though they are kids the Chatwins are treated like kings and queens, and they have many adventures there, and they keep the people and animals of Fillory safe from danger. Their main enemy is the Watcherwoman. This site is a guide to what Fillory is all about. "

And the non-existent author has a website, another place where you can read the first chapter, and also blurbs for the books....

I was right there, all bright eyed and believing, until I got to the synopsis of book 5, The Wandering Dune:

"The last in the series. Helen and Jane find a mysterious sand dune blowing through Fillory. It carries them out into the desert, where they discuss morality. Then, the bunnies show up."

Which in turn reminds me of a quote from Love Is Hell, by Matt Groening: "And at night, the ice-weasels come."

But still, I am rather eager to seek out The Magicians...

(I've closed the comments on this post--it was being spammed).


  1. Thanks for pointing out the Fillory et al sites. As someone who has read The Magicians, I can tell you these two sites are very, very, very clever. There is also a third site --- for the school of the book.

  2. I always wanted to read Jacob Wrestling, Cassandra's father's book, in I Capture the Castle.


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