I was a bit off the mark in my post about Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series yesterday. What's really driving those books seems to be an interest in structures of mythic meaning interweaving with modern life, and while the forms of adventure narrative are there, the stories come across more like rhapsodically descriptive poetry than like storytelling.
For example (spoiler warning) IIRC in The Dark is Rising Will receives an antlered carnival mask for a Christmas gift. It comes from a brother who's stationed overseas, and the mask has a backstory about how it was a gift from a mysterious guy with mysterious knowledge about Will. Later in the story there's a flood as the evil forces of The Dark mount their final attack; Will spots the mask being carried downstream in the floodwater. Soon he travels to a park where Herne the Hunter lives; Will hopes to rouse Herne, who has the power to drive the Dark away. A human figure lurks nearby... the mask sweeps by on the current, the figure grabs and dons the mask... behold! The figure with the mask is Herne the Hunter, and he saves the day. A carnival mask and an English legend are broguht together, with a little help from family ties, Christmas traditions and the Thames flooding.
Note that Will didn't have to do anything to bring about the sequence of events. He receives the mask, and he observes the later events, but he's rarely an Active Protagonist. Cooper doesn't really construct narratives around heroic deeds or cunning problem solving; she constructs them around the interplay of modern life and the web of mythology and imagination that gives resonance to life, at least for Cooper. It's kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean style ride, where threats loom but the point isn't the challenge of surviving the threats; there is no real challenge. The point is to enjoy the spectacle of the imaginative construction someone has prepared for you.
This drives some people nuts, and in interviews the screenwriter of the Dark is Rising film huffed and puffed about the importance of rejiggering the story to make Will an Active Protagonist. Ah, me.
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Just to be fair to my new town:
someone thinks it's on the right track.