In Memoriam: Brian Jacques (June 15, 1939 – February 5, 2011)

 

Rest peacefully, old chap.

I’m saddened to receive news of the passing of Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series (21 novels and counting!), the Flying Dutchman trilogy, and the Urso Brunov children’s books. His books, particularly the early Redwall ones, Mossflower especially, were some of the earliest fantasy I read and had a major impact on my childhood imaginative life. At some point I hope to begin rereading them, possibly to review on The Warden’s Walk but mainly for the sheer pleasure.

Also, his books were notable for always having AMAZING artwork, both the UK and US versions.

What always struck me most about his stories is how much he loved the sheer act of telling them. Warmth and joy seeped from every sentence. He felt like a reader of his own stories, not just some impersonal writer coldly imparting recorded material. It was like he was there right beside you, reveling in the landscape’s beauty, salivating at the many feasts he described, laughing at the characters’ humorous shenanigans, enthralled by the unfolding mysteries, and cheering the heroes’ victory. His characters also had strong moral standards and fought to uphold them, despite often overwhelming odds. Yes, he often used cliches and was prone to repeating himself (to be understood after 21 novels about the same abbey always under threat), but never did I feel that he, the author, was not engaged in the story. Throughout his 25 year-long career, he created characters and images that remain indelibly vivid and wonderful in my mind. The world of young adult fantasy literature is all the richer for the mark he left. As am I.

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Author: David

I’m a young Christian American reader writer dreamer wanderer walker flier listener talker scholar adventurer musician word-magician romantic critic religious idealist optipessimist man.

10 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Brian Jacques (June 15, 1939 – February 5, 2011)”

  1. Does anyone think someone, after a couple or years or so, will take up the redwall series where Mr. Jacques left off, or will Redwall die along with him?

    1. Considering he had recently finished the 22nd Redwall book, as yet unpublished, I doubt anyone will be hired to write more books. I usually only hear of that happening when there is a series with a strong arc plot that has been left incomplete. Jacques’ Redwall books were all stand-alone stories, which made them great because you could just jump in anywhere and get a complete, fun story. Keep checking the official website (www.redwall.org) — so far, all they have is a brief notice about his death, no other news.

      I have thought, though, that some of the books would make fantastic animated movies.

      1. I agree that they would make excellent movies, but they tried making them into a tv series and that only lasted for 3 of the books.

        1. Yeah, I remember seeing bits of that as a kids’ show. If they wanted to do more of the books, they could probably do a number of TV movies or miniseries. I’d personally like to see them in beautiful traditional animation, not CG, and staying fairly true to the Jacques’ combination of adventure, comedy, and tension/drama, rather than adding slapstick and musical bits to make them blander “kiddie” movies. Maybe Studio Ghibli should do them, or the company that did “Watership Down.”

    1. Enjoy it, it’s a great one! Most of his earliest stories are his best ones, although I remember Marlfox and The Long Patrol as also being very good and intriguing. Haven’t read the last five or so, but I will someday!

  2. *is speechless for a bit* …he died on my birthday, and I didn’t even know. I wish I had. He had a huge impact on my childhood and imagination too. I owe him, among other things, for making autumn that much more magical to me.

    1. I think he is one of the first authors where I really noticed the seasons being present. Lewis and Tolkien wrote much about seasons and weather too, but Jacques’ descriptions stuck more in my young mind: Martin crunching through the snow to Kotir, the forest’s spring bounty laid out as a feast on the abbey’s tables, etc. I owe him even more than I realize, really. The first novel I’m working on could practically be dedicated to him, though I’ve rarely consciously thought of him while developing it.

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