Two years ago today, author Brian Jacques (pronounced “Jakes”), creator of the Redwall series, passed away. He authored 22 books of series in all, which featured the mice, otters, moles, hedgehogs, squirrels, and hares of Mossflower Country and Salamandastron, and their epic struggles against all manner of villainy. Inspired by the memory and actions of their resident spiritual guide, Martin the Warrior, the goodbeasts of Redwall strived to create a place of peace in a hostile world full of rats, weasels, stouts, and other vermin. Readers come away from reading Redwall with the satisfaction of having read a darn good yarn, full of feasting, fighting, riddles, cliff hangers, and songs.
I got addicted to these tales not too long ago, after getting sick and tired of contemporary “literary fiction ,” with its typical loner protagonists and navel-gazing ruminations. I, like Brian Jacques at point, was wondering “What happened to the magic?!”
Jacques went off and wrote his own magic, and the gift he receives is in the giving, and with all the humility in the world. As he once stated it:
“I don’t worry so much about the prizes for books, the accolade for me is the kids. And the librarians, who’ve had an education, who are looking at a scalawag, who’s conned his way in—an exlongshoreman, ex-seaman, ex-truckdriver, who’s suddenly popped up as an author — and they say, “Oh, Mr. Jacques, we love your books.” I think, isn’t that nice, here are these people with this great education speaking to me as if I’m somebody—it’s a big thing.”
I thank him for creating magic and sharing it with the rest of the world, especially late thirtysomethings like myself who need some reminding. His death two years ago today left many heartbroken. But take heart, I think Jacques would say: join me anytime between the pages of Redwall.