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Dilemma

Posted by on March 8, 2011

The Alameda library has, as far as I can tell, about six books that I would ever want to read (and about eight books total). One, alas, is Thones, Dominations, Dorothy Sayers’ unfinished Wimsey/Vane mystery, now finished by a modern author.

This sort of dilemma makes me crazy. To read or not to read? I was weak and regretted it with Douglas Adams, for I could not resist picking up The Salmon of Doubt, basically a collection of rough drafts someone grabbed off his computer after he died, and it was clear his best work happened in the final drafts, not the first. I was weak and enjoyed it with Jane Austen’s two unfinished novels, The Watsons and Sanditon. Dickens’ unfinished book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, is delightful, which made it all the more maddening when it stopped midway through, so I won and lost there. But those were all simply left unfinished, not completed by another person.

I suppose really I can’t bear the thought that another writer could flawlessly imitate a writer I love. If this other woman can write a brilliant Harriet Vane and babbling Peter Wimsey then what makes Dorothy Sayers so wonderful, exactly? Will I stop loving her quite so much?

Eventually I’ll have to read it, of course, if only because I’ll have worked through every other book in the library by the end of the year. But part of me is dreading it.

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