Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The End

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The End

A Series of Unfortunate Events #13

by Lemony Snicket

The End by Lemony Snicket X
The End by Lemony Snicket
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    Oct 2006, 368 pages

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Did you know? (continued)

  • Handler started writing the Lemony Snicket books after he published his first novel The Basic Eight.  The suggestion came from Susan Rich, a children's book editor who now works at Harper Collins. Initially he thought it a terrible idea thinking that the sort of things he would come up with would be totally inappropriate for a children's publishing house, but then he had an idea - which she liked, and the rest is history. 
  • His pseudonym came about while researching The Basic Eight, when he needed to contact right-wing organizations to get pamphlets and learn their dogma but didn't want to use his real name.  It quickly took on a life of its own and became an in-joke with his friends who presented him with Lemony Snicket business cards one year and invented a drink called the Lemony Snicket (Handler is partial to cocktails), it also came in useful when writing letters to the editor of the local paper as an undergrad, and for ordering pizzas!
  • Many of the characters' names are borrowed from literary greats, such as Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe (the children's guardian is Mr Poe, and his children are Edgar and Albert), and George Orwell (optometrist Georgina Orwell in The Miserable Mill); others tend to have descriptive names such as the Squalors and the Quagmires.
  • Handler frequently cites Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov and Lorrie Moore among his literary influences and says that he enjoys "a good Wilkie Collins novel to this day".
  • He is planning to write more books for children, but not immediately.  Apparently, his current project is a book about pirates. 
  • He plays the accordion and has been involved with a number of musical groups.  He took up the accordion in college when he wanted to join a band but "it was in the brief, strange era in the late 80s and early 90s when keyboards were not cool" so he turned in his synthesizer for an accordion and found himself "in a very boring band attempting to be the Cowboy Junkies."
  • Interesting Link: A video in which Daniel Handler offers advice for young writers.

    This article is from the December 6, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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