Fiction That Reflects Other Fiction

Many novels spring mostly from an author’s brain and nowhere else. But some fiction is directly inspired by previous works, or satirizes previous works, or in some other way reflects previous works. The creative approach might be original, but the starting point is not.

That can be a praiseworthy or not-so-praiseworthy thing. We’re curious what the author will do with her/his riff on the story that came before, and are aware that a different angle on that story can be interesting and instructive. On the other hand, we might sit there thinking the author used the previous work only as a writing crutch.

I’m of course talking about novels that reflect work by another author, not sequels or series in which a writer references her/his own previous work as “the saga continues.”

This topic occurred to me while reading Robin McKinley’s absorbing 1997 novel Rose Daughter last week. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is best known as a Disney film but has its origins in a fairy tale that includes a 1756 version by French writer Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

Speaking of the 18th century, Henry Fielding directly satirized/parodied Samuel Richardson’s 1740 novel Pamela with Shamela (1741) and indirectly did the same thing with Joseph Andrews (1742). The latter is a hilarious book starring a man who, like Pamela, fights off all attempts to be seduced as he holds out for marriage.

Ann Radcliffe’s 1794 Gothic romance novel The Mysteries of Udolpho helped inspire Jane Austen to write Northanger Abbey, which was published in 1817 but partly penned in the late 1790s. Austen’s book stars a young woman who loves reading Gothic novels that make her imagination rather…over-imaginative. The Mysteries of Udolpho is mentioned about a dozen times in Northanger Abbey, which isn’t top-notch Austen but still a good novel.

(I am NOT going to discuss the 2009 book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 🙂 )

Moving closer to the present day, there’s John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and its many biblical references, including several characters who share the same first initials as Cain and Abel. If you consider The Bible literature — heck, at least some of the stuff in it HAD to be made up — then Steinbeck’s ambitious novel belongs in this blog post. (When God blogs, is it called a glog? But I digress…)

Then we have Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847). Rhys’ hypnotic work of fiction chronicles the pre-Jane Eyre life of the “madwoman in the attic” in Bronte’s novel, including how she met and married Edward Rochester.

There’s also Jasper Fforde’s engaging 2001 novel The Eyre Affair, in which detective Thursday Next enters the pages of Jane Eyre — and doesn’t have to cross a wide sea to do so. She uses “The Prose Portal” instead.

And there’s Margaret Atwood’s interesting/quirky The Penelopiad, which focuses on what Penelope was thinking and doing while her hubby Odysseus was experiencing the epic thing in Homer’s The Odyssey.

What are your favorite novels (or other fiction) that connect to previously published works? What do you think of authors doing that?

(The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area — unless you’re replying to someone else.)

I’m writing a literature-related book, but still selling Comic (and Column) Confessional — my often-funny memoir that recalls 25 years of covering and meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as Ann Landers and “Dear Abby,” and other notables such as Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, Walter Cronkite, and various authors. The book also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. You can email me at to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which contains a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by people such as “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson.

103 thoughts on “Fiction That Reflects Other Fiction

  1. Venus On the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout ( adopted pen name of Phillip Jose Farmer) obviously derives from Vonnegut, and is, as I think I’ve mentioned here before, one of my all-time favorite titles.

    One might argue that Ross MacDonald’s Archer is but an elaborate homage and extension of Raymond Chandler’s fiction and Marlowe character– can’t imagine what MacDonald might have written had there been no Chandler.

    I consider Lampedusa a Son of Stendahl, in that I think the former found it very easy and agreeable to write out of a sensibility of political sophistication and cynicism very similar to that which pervades Stendahl’s fiction. What would his point of view been like had there been no Stendahl?

    Would IB Singer have written Yiddish fiction had not his older brother had success in the field?

    Perhaps, aside from my first example, I’ve approached the topic from a slightly different angle, but….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome back, jhNY! Hope you’re doing well!

      Your second-through-fourth examples do approach things from a somewhat different angle, but I think it’s an excellent angle. 🙂 Authors can write fiction that directly references previously written fiction, and/or write fiction that is strongly influenced by previous fiction. Another example of the latter would be Cormac McCarthy, who I don’t remember mentioning William Faulkner or any of Faulkner’s novels in his (McCarthy’s) novels, but whose style obviously owes more than a little to Faulkner.

      Thanks for the great comment!


      • Glad to be back among the book-lovers, though I have spent the time away among books– tottering piles of them, boxes of them, shelves of them– but all well away from the window area of my tiny place, so as to accommodate installation of new ones… Getting the books back to where they were? Later. Much later.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Another way to be immersed in books. 😦 Hope all that window installation is done. And, yes, I can see how you would not want to rush into the arduous task of returning those books to where they were!


    • jh, I really enjoyed the Chandler novels, but I adored the Ross MacDonald Archer novels. A few years ago they reissued the Archer novels as trade paperbacks, and I bought and reread them all. I don’t know who was better, but I do know I enjoyed Archer better. Which of course has nothing to do with the relative literary merits of either, at least to me. And of course, one must say if there was no Chandler, would there have ever have been an Archer?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess my reaction was just about opposite– but it may be a function of how I went about reading each author. A friend recommended reading an Archer between Marlowes, as a way of stretching out my enjoyment of Chandler. De gustibus, etc.

        Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy MacDonald. I did, and would be happy to read any Archer I missed, and will, whenever I happen on one.

        Of course, had there been no Hammett, would there have been a Chandler?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave, it would be impossible to put together, but it would be really nice to have the entire group of us commenters get together with you for even a long lunch or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to be on-topic this time Dave…as I am reading the latest of “Memory Man” , by David Baldacci the first of Amos Decker series. Amos a star athlete who made it to NFL and then a life changing accident shifted his brain configuration to a state he remembers everything. So engaging from the first page and have not read much for my latest obsession Jack Reacher. But as I was reading Baladacci I find my brain was think of Reacher to be Amos.

    So much alike but so different on how they started.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, bebe! “Memory Man” sounds like an interesting and intense book — and very topical given the concussion carnage in the NFL.

      Also interesting how we sometimes think of other books and series when we read a book or series. That’s another version of fiction reflecting other fiction!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No I have not read Persuader..if you like the book they I will try it after the other three books I have borrowed.
    You are far ahead of me Dave in Lee Child`s books. He was in CBS morning show yesterday and also the reviewer of the ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ in NYT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love so many of the Reacher books (I’ve now read 12), so I can’t say “Persuader” is the best or second best. But definitely in the top five.

      I’ve never seen Lee Child on TV; that must have been interesting! And nice that he wrote a NYT review. But I have mixed feelings about celebrities (authors and otherwise) doing NYT reviews. They’re already rich and famous, yet they’re taking away work from less-known people who write well about books. Of course, I’m sure those celebs don’t seek out the work; the NYT comes to them, and it’s hard to resist.

      There’s a huge, very muscled bad guy in “Persuader” who reminds me of a huge, very muscled bad guy in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. “Persuader” came first! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks so much, bebe!!! I’m off to a meeting soon, but will watch this later tonight or tomorrow morning and give you my reaction. Greatly looking forward to hearing what Lee Child has to say!


              • Dave did you catch him in the movie clip ? Looks to me Lee is starting a tradition like Hitchcock to be present silently in and the future movies. Sounded to me also another one coming up and it is going to be Mr. Tom 😆

                Liked by 1 person

              • I wonder about Child– sometimes I think his apparent openness re methods and intentions are but a smokescreen of misdirection– the way some A students like to pretend they never study, yet do, when the bars are closed and nobody’s looking.

                Whatever his actual doings, I enjoy the outcome a lot– but I confine my reading of Child now to airports. Having a giant who can beat everybody in thinking and fighting is a wonderful compensation to have on hand when enduring the maddening machinations of airlines and their minions.

                Think I’ve read about as many Reachers as you have– maybe one or two more. But next week I’m flying to Nashville, so.. (I’ve already got my next one bought and ready to go)

                Liked by 1 person

                • You may have a point about Lee Child, jhNY. For instance, it’s hard to imagine him writing such tightly plotted novels without some advanced outlining.

                  Great reason to read the Jack Reacher books in airports! If only everyone and everything were as smart and efficient as him.

                  Enjoy your next Child novel! I’ll be taking another one out of the library next week. 🙂


            • I did something I wish I did not…googling Make Me took me to a site which we abandoned long ago to make a grand escape ..seems so distant now, almost couple of years gone by.
              Anyways there was a movie review…the guy almost gave away the story-line which NYT artfully avoided.
              Oh Darn….

              Liked by 1 person

      • Speaking of Stieg Larsson, my #3 go-to used bookstore held a great sale recently…15% off all fiction. I purchased A Darker Shade of Sweden, which is a collection of short stories by Swedish crime writers. What attracted me to the book was the beautiful cover, and I saw the name Stieg Larsson as one of the contributing authors. I remembered that name from reading the posts from bebe and a few others on here, so I decided to get it.

        I am swamped with work and probably won’t get a chance to officially read it until Canadian Thanksgiving next month, but just skimming through it was exciting enough. I can almost see myself curled up in my favourite chair, drinking a mug of my grandmother’s cinnamon apple cider that she makes every fall, and diving into Swedish crime fiction.


        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Ana! I didn’t realize Stieg Larsson was also a short story writer. His Millennium Trilogy is SO good. I raced through those three novels so fast my eyes hurt. 🙂

          Sorry you’re so swamped with work. That’s a VERY evocative second paragraph you wrote despite your busy schedule!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hellooooooooo Ana…How interesting story….I am not swamped with “job” but wish to abandon all my to do lists and go sit on my deck and read.
          Beautiful afternoon…only birds to hear..oh double sigh…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Ana. I don’t know if you knew that I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian crime literature, but my dad was born in Sweden and came here as a toddler, and my mom’s parents came here when they were quite young. I was at B&N yesterday with one of my sisters to celebrate my birthday and she had me pick out a book that she’d buy for me. It was between the latest novel between Louise Penney (who writes a wonderful series about a now retired officer of the Quebec Surete.) and a Swedish writer who writes about a Swedish crime novelist and her detective husband. I finally settled on the Louise Penney book, but it was a tough choice.

          Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a huge, very muscled bad guy in “Persuader”–

        I especially liked the way Reacher got him positioned before doing away with him— no lifting! But then, I would– I’ve lifted enough for a while, and admire anybody who can think his way past it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Paulie, I think his name was. As you know, he was so big (with the help of steroids) that he made the 6’5″, 250-pound Reacher seem small. Reacher’s method of beating him was indeed amazing and amazingly described — though Reacher did get more injured than usual in that tussle!


  5. There is also a book out there called “Longbourn” telling the story of “Pride and Prejudice” from the standpoint of the servants in that household. I think it sounds intriguing yet I’m not ready to read it yet because I love the original so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, Kat Lib! A Jane Austen story told from the servants’ point of view DOES sound intriguing. And, come to think of it, didn’t P.D. James reference “Pride and Prejudice” with “Death Comes to Pemberley”? (I haven’t read it.)


      • Yes, P.D James did write a very good sequel to P&P. I don’t think I would trust anyone other than her to write a good novel. By the way, I was at Barnes & Noble today with my one sister and did see the Reacher novel, which I know you know about from bebe. I just talked to my oldest sister and learned that she is another great fan of the Reacher series. She’s read them all and will bring a few for me when we get together at the end of October. I’m still waiting to get the one from my brother, but perhaps he is going to bring it with him when he comes up here in Oct

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kat Lib, I must read that P.D. James novel — or any P.D. James novel — one of these days!

          Another Jack Reacher fan! (Your sister.) It sounds like you will be reading Lee Child this fall. I’d be very interested in hearing what you think! I just finished his “Persuader” novel. SO good.


          • Hey Dave, I just thought I’d mention that yesterday was my 66th birthday, so I am now officially off Social Security Disability and have moved over to regular Social Security Retirement. Fortunately I will still get the same amount each month, so I should be happy but if I had to choose whether I had been able to work until I was 66 as opposed to having gone through the horrible medical events that I did, then it’s not even a good choice.

            Liked by 1 person

            • A belated Happy Birthday, Kat Lib!!!

              Glad the payments you’re receiving are the same. And, yes, it’s MUCH preferable to work and have good health than to go through the ordeal you went through. I hope you’re feeling okay at the moment.


              • Thanks, Dave. I had a great birthday, even though I still have medical problems that need to be addressed, and may never be completely,, but I’m OK with that. I bought a few books today with a gift card and I picked out a book for my sister to buy for me, so I hope that I’ll get back to reading books soon. I miss it.

                Liked by 1 person

                • You’re very welcome, Kat Lib! And I realize those medical things don’t always just go away. 😦

                  Books and birthdays — another positive B&B (in addition to the ones people stay in 🙂 ).


  6. Dave, I wonder if you have read “The Flight of Gemma Hardy” by Margot Livesy, which is a modern retelling of “Jane Eyre.” I know how much you love that novel, so wanted to get your opinion. I enjoyed reading it, but of course it’s nowhere near as good as the original.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Can’t bring to mind any books but on the subject of writers being inspired by other writers made me think of Steven King’s advice (maybe not an exact quote): “If you want to be a successful writer you must do two thing: 1. read a lot; 2. write a lot.” Reading a lot can give one inspiration and is perhaps the source of the stories herein mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dave,

    Aside from the obvious ones where the author, like George RR Martin, states they are inspired by a famous author I have a few.

    In “The Spearwielder’s Tale” R. A. Salvatore uses a leprechaun to poke fun a some of the “childish” notions that appear in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” while at the same time saying he wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for Tolkien.

    The influence of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis on modern fantasy is only rivaled by the influence of Alex Raymond on the art used in comics. (An argument can be made for a change beginning now in Sci-Fi thanks to the numerous women who are pushing the boundaries of the genre, but the influence of one or two people is not seen to be as great in this case).

    Agatha Christie was very heavily influenced by Arthur Conan Doyle. She even had the former military officer as the foil for Poirot. However she moved far beyond what Doyle himself did in the mystery genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great stuff, GL, about those authors and their influences and “influencees.”

      It does get very interesting when someone is inspired by an author and then goes beyond them. Of course, sometimes they end up being just sort of derivative.

      In horror, there is of course that line from Edgar Allan Poe to H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King (with some others — like Mary Shelley, Ambrose Bierce, Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, Peter Straub, etc. — in the mix).

      Liked by 1 person

      • The horror genre does indeed have a very interesting chain of great writers moving it forward and stretching it into new areas. From Dean Koontz and his horror sci-fi (no zombies here), influenced in ways by Shelley, to King, the modern king, stretching in ways I would never have seen, yet for some reason no they no longer have a horror section in the book store.

        Liked by 1 person

          • They’ve put King into several depending on the book. Koontz is listed a “Thriller” as are many horror writers. Some went to “Fiction” and other’s wound up in “Fantasy/Sci-Fi” which is a combined section again.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah, thriller! I guess that can cover many a book! I think fantasy and sci-fi should still be separate, but what do I know? 🙂

              Thanks, GL! I spend much more time in the library than bookstores these days. My local library puts writers like Stephen King in general fiction, but does have separate shelves for fantasy, sci-fi, and mysteries.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. Howdy, Dave!

    — What are your favorite novels (or other fiction) that connect to previously published works? —

    If one assumes the “Epic of Gilgamesh” to be not history but literature, then “The Great American Novel” of Philip Roth is the first work to come to mind in this context, as baseball, religion and writing were three of my four great passions when I read the Word Smith-narrated book combining these elements all those years ago: Alas, neither the “EOG” nor “TGAN” is in my bookcases now, but I recall my boon companion (and boss) Frank O and I conducting more than a few early-morning discussions centered on comparing and contrasting the Gilgamesh of the former and the Gil Gamesh of the latter at the legendary Toms River Diner back then — after we had put our A.M.-cycle daily newspaper to bed, of course.

    “The Great American Novel” may not be the great American novel, and it might not even be the great Philip Roth novel, but it is great fun.

    — What do you think of authors doing that? —

    Everything is allowed, as long as it works.

    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Everything is allowed, as long as it works” — I agree with that, J.J.!

      And thanks for your thoughts on “The Great American Novel” and its part-inspiration. “TGAN” is on/near the top of my list of Philip Roth novels to read when I finally get to more of that author’s work.

      And going to a diner after a newspaper goes to bed — I remember that well. 🙂 Actually, sometimes earlier, when I had dinner in the middle of 3 or 4 p.m to midnight or so shift.


      • — “TGAN” is on/near the top of my list of Philip Roth novels to read when I finally get to more of that author’s work. —

        Based on exhaustive research undertaken this very day (in lieu of any gainful sort of work), I apparently have read nine of the first 10 novels/novellas Philip Roth had published and none of the many that followed them. If I ever complete my current reading of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s masterly Trilogy — “With Fire and Sword,” “The Deluge” and “Fire in the Steppe” — then I would consider rereading those nine Roth pieces in the following order:
        1. “Goodbye, Columbus”
        2. “Portnoy’s Complaint”
        3. “The Great American Novel”
        4. “The Ghost Writer”
        5. “My Life as a Man”
        6. “Letting Go”
        7. “When She Was Good”
        8. “Our Gang”
        9. “The Breast”

        Of course, a literature professor likely would say I should get to “The Ghost Writer” first, but what does he or she know?

        P.S.: I am happy to report “The Epic of Gilgamesh” was in one of the bookcases, after all: Reuniting with good ol’ Enkidu has me in a Jimmy Durante state of mind (Enka Dinka Doo) . . .

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks so much for that Roth-book ranking, J.J. (And the humor!) I’ve wanted to read “Goodbye, Columbus” for a long time, and your list reinforces that. “Portnoy’s Complaint,” of course, is absolutely hilarious. 🙂 And to belabor a joke that has probably been said a million times, how many authors can say they wrote “The Great American Novel”?


          • — And to belabor a joke that has probably been said a million times, how many authors can say they wrote “The Great American Novel”? —

            Thanks to all my goldbricking today, I can tell you: Four. They are William Carlos Williams, Keith Malley, Clyde Brion Davis and, of course, Philip Roth, according to our droogies at Wikipedia whose information is generally good in these kinds of cases ( I have read a great deal of WCW’s poetry, but I am almost completely unfamiliar with his prose, including this sucker. And I know nothing about either Malley or Davis: It appears one requires more than a catchy title to land a big-time rep in the literary game.

            Liked by 1 person

        • I emailed a very similar Enkidu (Enki-Enkidu) joke this very week to a professor of literature, who told it in his class next day. One student got the joke…Durante’s been gone a while, while Gilgamesh is evergreen….

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Hans Christian Andersen wrote a depressing story called The Red Shoes about a little girl who is drawn to red shoes as they bring her attention and happiness. The shoes become all encompassing, fervent in dance,out of her control. This story ends tragically,as does the film that it inspired by this tale that has the same title a ballet film called The Red Shoes by Moira Shearer in which she danced, spoiler alert, to her demise.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dave, in my comment above, could you edit the sentence “Of course, ‘Ulysses’ could be read without knowledge of that fact and still be just as confused” to “Of course, one could read ‘Ulysses’ without knowledge of that fact and still be just as confused”? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The first one that comes to mind is James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Each of the sections in that novel corresponds to one of the encounters of Ulysses in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’. Of course, one could read ‘Ulysses’ with knowledge of that fact and still be just as confused. When I read it I printed an article that explained the correspondence of each section with the parallels cited. It helped a bit, though ultimately I just had to let go and enjoy the seeming chaos of the ride.

    The second one that occurs to me is only allusive to another classic in its first line and in its conclusion–Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’. The first line of the novel is ‘Call me Jonah’. Of course we all know where that one came from. At the end of that wild and wacky novel, ‘Jonah’ is the last survivor of a holocaust involving a rampant sample of ‘ice-nine’, a substance that fuses particles of everything with which it comes into contact, ultimately turning everything to ice. Kurt borrowed the idea of ice-nine from an account he read of a discussion H.G. Wells had at a cocktail party. He figured it was an unused idea of H.G.’s and therefore fair game for theft. Of course, that last few paragraphs are an absurd version of the line, ‘And I alone am escaped to tell thee’.

    I know there are several more examples but I can’t think of any at the moment. Perhaps I need another nap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are two great examples, Brian. Thanks! I guess James Joyce referenced “The Odyssey” long before Margaret Atwood did in “The Penelopiad”…

      “Of course, one could read ‘Ulysses’ with knowledge of that fact and still be just as confused” — terrific, droll line. 🙂

      One Kurt Vonnegut book getting some inspiration from both Herman Melville and H.G. Wells — I’m impressed!


    • There’s a very interesting chapter in Hugh Kenner’s The Pound Era having to do with the original Ulysses inspiration of Joyce. As I recall, he came to it by way of Samuel Butler, who attempted a recreation/re-imagining of ancient places in Ulysses on the basis of its text– who in turn was inspired by the diggings and declarations of Heinrich Schliemann, who also used Homer for a guide to ancient riches, which he found, only they were not Homeric in age or origin.

      Joyce hoped that a reader might, by careful attention to HIS text, be able to recreate his 20th century Dublin at some far-off future date– a la Butler.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I usually can’t remember the title of the book I’m currently reading because they’re mostly legal thrillers whose titles all sound alike. So I’ll address the subject of authors drawing inspiration from others. When I’m the author I’m inspired by the ridiculous things that happen in real estate; funny in restrospect :). Great column, as always, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you like the column, Cathy! And thanks for commenting!

      Yes, inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Given your real-estate “day job,” I can see how happenings in that profession helped inspire your excellent real-estate humor/advice book. And of course your dogs inspired your first book about…your dogs. 🙂


  14. I’m going to go to “The Far Side” and mention Gary Larson as someone who referenced other authors’ works in his “literature”. You have to be well read to “get” his inside jokes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nice one, lulabelle! 🙂 Some of those “Far Side” comics were rather deep — in addition to being hilarious. And Gary Larson did write an illustrated book or two after putting out all those best-selling “Far Side” cartoon collections.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Great observation, VocareMentor! And “Shoeless Joe” IS an excellent novel.

      As you know, the “Field of Dreams” movie version of “Shoeless Joe” eliminated the J.D. Salinger story line under legal threat from that reclusive author. So if I ever wrote a blog post about films that reference literature, I’d have to leave Kevin Costner out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Dave, my first thought about this topic was “The Poisonwood Bible,” and how the Bible so transforms the lives of Reverend Price and his wife and daughters, starting with their early missionary work in Africa. I then realized that I might offend some people by calling the Bible as “fiction,” although that is how I view it (my apologies to those who don’t feel the same way).
    Of course, you already mentioned “Northanger Abbey,” which is to me the ultimate novel based on reactions to another genre, the old-fashioned women’s suspense novel.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Hi Dave, it’s so fitting for me that this is your topic this week. While “The Shadow of the Wind” isn’t actually based on another book (or, as far as I know, inspired by anything in particular) it does mention other authors and novels. The basic premise of the story is a young boy / man who is investigating the history of a mysterious author. He discovers Shadow during his first ever visit to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I’m not even going to try to explain what this is, because nothing that I say could do any justice to the beautiful and gothic place that Carlos Ruiz Zafon so wonderfully creates. But a big part of “The Shadow of the Wind” involves books and reading. Shakespeare gets a mention, as does Jules Verne. And at one point there’s an incredible pen that was apparently used by Victor Hugo while writing “Les Miserables”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Susan! Well, now I want to read “The Shadow of the Wind” even more. 🙂 (Thanks to your description of it and the great literary references that you note the book contains.)

      I love it when novels reference other fictional works and authors — as when Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” mentions George Eliot’s “Middlemarch,” “Jane Eyre” mentions Sir Walter Scott, etc.

      Thanks again!


      • I don’t remember Wharton mentioning “Middlemarch”, however when I read Innocence, I hadn’t yet read the Eliot novel, so maybe I didn’t understand the reference. Will have to look out for it if I do a re-read

        Liked by 1 person

        • In “The Age of Innocence,” the Newland Archer character excitedly receives “Middlemarch” in the mail from England soon after it’s published (early 1870s). He had ordered it. I think Edith Wharton was trying to show that Archer was (or thought he was) less conventional than the average American rich guy. Of course, he wasn’t really — though, as you know, he had some longings to get out of his traditional box!


    • Very interesting topic Dave….on a side note ” Make Me” by Lee Child was published yesterday and to my thrill the book came in me in my library slot as I requested it before. What I understand several copies were purchased and eight hundred some waiting list. Read 5 chapters this morning and loving it.
      I sort of passed last couple of his books after a few chapters . Now I need to find time to finish this one in 3 weeks. I wish I read books all day but where is the time? Chores to be done 🙂
      here is one review..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, bebe! So great that you’re already reading — and loving — “Make Me”!

        I saw that NYT review, and that new Reacher book does look really good (like almost every novel in Lee Child’s series).

        I just finished his “Persuader” last night. It was one of the better ones — as in A++ rather than A+ or A. 🙂 Among other things, it’s nice when Reacher shows a little fear and vulnerability amid his almost superhuman persona; that was the case in “Persuader,” as you might remember.

        Liked by 1 person

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