Sunday, December 19, 2004

A series of unfortunate questions

This is a few days old, but enjoyable, nonetheless: Daniel Handler's alter ego, Lemony Snicket, answers questions from readers of The Independent. Although he offers several good responses, these are probably the best:
What is your opinion of Harry Potter?
Yvonne George, London

Harry Potter seems like a very nice young fictional man. If I were in the habit of befriending fictional people, I'd be happy to make his acquaintance, but the trouble with fictional friendships is that you tend to find yourself sitting in a café, talking excitedly to an empty chair. After several hours, the staff will probably force you to leave, even if there are still uneaten madeleines sitting on your plate, all ready to be covered in strawberry jam. Normally, if you were being treated unfairly, you could count on a friend to help you, but a fictional friend - even one with fictional magic powers - will probably just stand there with a confused and fictional look on his or her face.

You warn children against reading your books. Would you advise me not to ask you a question?

Lily Cook, London

I would advise you not to ask me a certain question - "Are you aware of any sinister plans afoot involving Ms Lily Cook of London?" - as the answer just may not please you.