Friday, January 09, 2009

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl

This is the sequel to the first Charlie book, written about nine years after the first, in 1973. This second book is not as good as the original. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a straight forward narrative and really works as a novel, or a story. The Glass Elevator is more two stories, one tacked on after the other. The only constant between the two is the character of Mr Wonka (even though Charlie and all the other characters are present.)

It is Mr Wonka who is the more dominating and more vivid character. His strangeness and eccentricities make him the star attraction, and provide a real continuity between the two books.
As much as we love Charlie, he is a rather modest fellow after all. But Mr Wonka’s loopiness and disregard for all normality is what charms us.

The Glass Elevator is a pleasant enough sequel, with quite a few good gags thrown in, but not on a par with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Post script: has anyone noted Mr Wonka’s dubious workplace practices, like testing all of his wacky lollies and inventions on the poor Oompa Loompas?

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