A quick review of Jo Walton’s Among Others:
About half-way through this novel I wondered if Walton isn’t doing something unheard of in SF/Fantasy (unless George R.R. Martin does it) – creating an unreliable narrator. Mo (the narrator)is sharing her diary with us, and in it she chronicles a horrible story of her insane mother who causes the death of her sister and cripples Mo in some sort of ultimate battle of magic. As I read I started to realize that maybe she wasn’t all that sane – she sees fairies that no one else can see (except a boyfriend, later, one who desperately wants to believe as well), she sees her mother’s magic (she thinks that her mom is a witch), again, something no one else seems to be able to see, she thinks her aunts on her dad’s side are all witches because they want to give her earrings, and so on.
I became fairly convinced that I was right by the end. Her boyfriend wonders why no one else can see what they see, and the climax is fairly uneventful – she confronts her mom (we think – no one else seems to see her mom), and she meets the men in her life at the bus. She then goes on to essentially live a normal life.
My guess, then, is that Walton shows us a young girl confronting some fairly horrible actions of her mother, and maybe she even invents a twin after she runs away from the trauma. I hope that’s the case, because otherwise this is a fairly mundane novel about fairies.