Lemony Snicket returns with the last book before the last book of his bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events. Scream and run away before the secrets of the series are revealed!
Very little is known about Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:
o The books have inexplicably sold millions and millions of copies worldwide
o People in more than 40 countries are consumed by consuming Snicket
o The movie was as sad as the books, if not more so
o Like unrefrigerated butter and fungus, the popularity of these books keeps spreading
Even less is known about book the twelfth in this alarming phenomenon. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:
o In this book, things only get worse
o Count Olaf is still evil
o The Baudelaire orphans do not win a contest
o The title begins with the word, ′The′
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
It is to the Hotel Denouement, a place of intrigue, danger, and momentary safety, that the Baudelaire orphans are sent in this, the popular and tremendously entertaining "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Taken there by the mysterious Kit Snicket, who is either a helpful volunteer or a nefarious villain, the orphans must pose as hotel concierges and try to uncover clues that will either free them from the misery inflicted on them by the dastardly figure of Count Olaf, or lead them into even more despair and peril. The twist is that they must do this in a hotel which is organized using the Dewey Decimal System. In typical Lemony Snicket style, nothing is ultimately resolved, but the reader is teased in the most tantalizing manner, which here means that the author tempts us with the most delectable pastries but then snatches them away at the last second. Readers who have read along with this series from the beginning will recognize almost all of the characters as they return to either haunt or protect the orphans. While the plot is like Swiss cheese, the action is fast and furious and Snicket's inimitable style is ultimately satisfying. I had not read any of the previous books in the series, nor have I watched the popular film, but I was duly impressed with this book and its uniqueness. Youngsters and even adults have every right to laud this book and this series. I cannot wait for the next title. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 10 up.More Reviews and Recommendations
To the uninitiated, his name may sound more like dessert than good reading; but Lemony Snicket (known to communicate through emissary Daniel Handler, shown here) is a star author to readers who are hooked on his gloomy A Series of Unfortunate Events books. You never know what will happen to those poor Baudelaire orphans next -- only that whatever it is, it's going to be a head-shaking shame
About The Author:To the uninitiated, his name may sound more like dessert than good reading; but Lemony Snicket (known to communicate through emissary Daniel Handler, shown here) is a star author to readers who are hooked on his gloomy A Series of Unfortunate Events books. You never know what will happen to those poor Baudelaire orphans next -- only that whatever it is, it's going to be a head-shaking shame.
Table Of Contents:
Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action. If this is true, then the book you are reading now is the perfect thing to drop into a pond. The ripples will spread across the surface of the pond and the world will change for the better, with one less dreadful story for people to read and one more secret hidden at the bottom of a pond, where most people never think of looking. The miserable tale of the Baudelaire orphans will be safe in the pond's murky depths, and you will be happier not to read the grim story I have written, but instead to gaze at the rippling scum that rises to the top of the world.
The Baudelaires themselves, as they rode in the back of a taxi driven by a woman they scarcely knew, might have been happy to jump into a pond themselves, had they known what sort of story lay ahead of them as the automobile made its way among the twisting streets of the city where the orphans had once lived. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire gazed out of the windows of the car, marveling at how little the city had changed since a fire destroyed their home, took the lives of their parents, and created ripples in the Baudelaires' lives that would probably never become calm. As the taxi turned a corner, Violet saw the market where she and her siblings had shopped for ingredients to make dinner for Count Olaf, the notorious villain who had become their guardian after the fire. Even after all this time, with Olaf trying scheme after scheme to get his hands on the enormous fortune the Baudelaire parents had left behind, the market looked the same as the day Justice Strauss, a kindly neighbor and a judge in the High Court, had first taken them there. Towering over the market was an enormous, shiny building that Klaus recognized as 667 Dark Avenue, where the Baudelaires had spent some time under the care of Jerome and Esme Squalor in an enormous penthouse apartment. It seemed to the middle Baudelaire that the building had not changed one bit since the siblings had first discovered Esme's treacherous and romantic attachment to Count Olaf. And Sunny Baudelaire, who was still small enough that her view out the window was somewhat restricted, heard the rattle of a manhole cover as the taxi drove over it, and remembered the underground passageway she and her siblings had discovered, which led from the basement of 667 Dark Avenue to the ashen remains of their own home. Like the market and the penthouse, the mystery of this passageway had not changed, even though the Baudelaires had discovered a secret organization known as V.F.D. that the children believed had constructed many such passageways. Each mystery the Baudelaires discovered only revealed another mystery, and another, and another, and several more, and another, as if the three siblings were diving deeper and deeper into a pond, and all the while the city lay calm on the surface, unaware of all the unfortunate events in the orphans' lives. Even now, returning to the city that was once their home, the Baudelaire orphans had solved few of the mysteries overshadowing them. They didn't know where they were headed, for instance, and they scarcely knew anything about the woman driving the automobile except her name.
"You must have thousands of questions, Baudelaires," said Kit Snicket, spinning the steering wheel with her white-gloved hands. Violet, who had adroit technical faculties -- a phrase which here means "a knack for inventing mechanical devices" -- admired the automobile's purring machinery as the taxi made a sharp turn through a large metal gate and proceeded down a curvy, narrow street lined with shrubbery. "I wish we had more time to talk, but it's already Tuesday. As it is you scarcely have time to eat your important brunch before getting into your concierge disguises and beginning your observations as flaneurs."
"Concierge?" Violet asked.
"Flaneurs?" Klaus asked.
"Brunch?" Sunny asked.
Kit smiled, and maneuvered the taxi through another sharp turn. Two books of poetry skittered off the passenger seat to the floor of the automobile -- The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Other Poems by Lewis Carroll, and The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. The Baudelaires had recently received a message in code, and had used the poetry of Mr. Carroll and Mr. Eliot in order to decode the message and meet Kit Snicket on Briny Beach, and now it seemed that perhaps Kit was still talking in riddles. "A great man once said that right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Do you understand what that means?"
Violet and Sunny turned to their brother, who was the literary expert in the family. Klaus Baudelaire had read so many books he was practically a walking library, and had recently taken to writing important and interesting facts in a dark blue commonplace book. "I think so," the middle Baudelaire said. "He thinks that good people are more powerful than evil people, even if evil people appear to be winning. Is he a member of V.F.D.?"
"You might say that," Kit said. "Certainly his message applies to our current situation. As you know, our organization split apart some time ago, with much bitterness on both sides."
"The schism," Violet said.
"Yes," Kit agreed with a sigh. "The schism. V.F.D. was once a united group of volunteers, trying to extinguish fires -- both literally and figuratively. But now there are two groups of bitter enemies. Some of us continue to extinguish fires, but others have turned to much less noble schemes...
Excerpted from A Series of Unfortunate Events #12: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket Copyright © 2005 by Lemony Snicket. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Get ready for the next episode in A Series of Unfortunate Events! Continuing the chilling adventures of the Baudelaire orphans, Lemony Snicket's 12th installment -- The Penultimate Peril -- promises more surprises at every turn and takes fans ever closer to the solution of Snicket's mysterious puzzle.
It is to the Hotel Denouement, a place of intrigue, danger, and momentary safety, that the Baudelaire orphans are sent in this, the popular and tremendously entertaining "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Taken there by the mysterious Kit Snicket, who is either a helpful volunteer or a nefarious villain, the orphans must pose as hotel concierges and try to uncover clues that will either free them from the misery inflicted on them by the dastardly figure of Count Olaf, or lead them into even more despair and peril. The twist is that they must do this in a hotel which is organized using the Dewey Decimal System. In typical Lemony Snicket style, nothing is ultimately resolved, but the reader is teased in the most tantalizing manner, which here means that the author tempts us with the most delectable pastries but then snatches them away at the last second. Readers who have read along with this series from the beginning will recognize almost all of the characters as they return to either haunt or protect the orphans. While the plot is like Swiss cheese, the action is fast and furious and Snicket's inimitable style is ultimately satisfying. I had not read any of the previous books in the series, nor have I watched the popular film, but I was duly impressed with this book and its uniqueness. Youngsters and even adults have every right to laud this book and this series. I cannot wait for the next title. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 10 up.
Also Known As:
In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
Date of Birth:
February 28, 1970
Place of Birth:
Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Daniel Handler won the Academy of American Poets Prize (1992), Wesleyan University's Olin Fellowship (1992-1993), and accepted the Quill Award for The Penultimate Peril (2006) for Lemony Snicket
* Lemony Snicket's official web site
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.
But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.
Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."
Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.
However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."
Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."
His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.
Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.
He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."
According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."
A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:
"I can cook anything."
"I know one very good card trick."
"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."
In the fall of 2006, author and Lemony Snicket representative Daniel Handler took some time out to answer some of our questions:
What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer?
I read Carson McCullers's Ballad of the Sad Caf © when I was in eighth grade. I already wanted to be a writer but it occurred to me for the first time that I might learn how to do this by re-reading books I loved and figuring out how they were made. I took extensive notes on the McCullers, which is pretty much how I do it today.
What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?
What are some of your favorite films, and what makes them unforgettable to you?
What types of music do you like? Is there any particular kind you like to listen to when you're writing?
When writing I listen to melodramatic Russian classical music, early electronic experimental music, Indian ragas and nearly anything by Sun Ra. When I have writer's block I listen to the Flying Lizards. This leaves the rest of my time for indie pop.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading?
I've been trying to start a "Dive Bar Proust Club," in which we would meet each month in a different dive bar and discuss Proust. The responses "Do we have to meet in dive bars?" or "Do we have to read Proust?" are automatic disqualifications from membership.
What are your favorite kinds of books to give -- and get -- as gifts?
I like to give people novels I think they would like, on no particular occasion -- just when we're in a bookstore together. I like to receive reference books on my birthday.
Do you have any special writing rituals? For example, what do you have on your desk when you're writing?
I flip unsharpened pencils all over the place, letting them roll all over my desk and into obscure corners of the floor. I originally used sharpened pencils but I switched after too many graphite-filled scars.
What are you working on now?
A book about pirates.
Many writers are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?
My first novel took almost six years to sell and was rejected 37 times in the interim, and then finally sold for the smallest amount of money my literary agent had ever negotiated for a work of fiction.
If you could choose one new writer to be "discovered," who would it be -- and why?
Chris Adrian's recent novel The Children's Hospital is one of those books that is not only brilliant, but just the sort of thing I think the entire world would love, if only everyone heard about it.
What tips or advice do you have for writers still looking to be discovered?
Steal paper from work.
|Book:||The Penultimate Peril: Book The Twelfth (A Series Of Unfortunate Events)|
|Author:||Brett Helquist(Illustrator) Lemony Snicket Michael Kupperman(Illustrator)|
|Number of Pages:||368|
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