Im sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In tre 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 childrens 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 isnt 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 childrens books that are constantly being thrust at you when youre little, he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. I didnt 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 childs 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 childrens 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 isnt without its own unfortunate events. Its 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 dont, 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 childrens books.Good To Know
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. Handlers 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 Teachers 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.