One of the most memorable aspects of the "Series of Unfortunate Events" books is its author, a man who goes by the name Lemony Snicket and frequently inserts himself in the narrative, admonishing us not to read the horrible story he is about to tell or providing dire warnings about the fate that awaits his main characters, the three Baudelaire orphans.
Snicket (the pen name for Daniel Handler) has been continuously mysterious about his past, occasionally dropping enigmatic hints about his life within the books. So young and old Snicket fans will doubtless be intrigued that his new series doesn’t center on any of the Baudelaire friends or enemies featured in the "Series of Unfortunate Events" books, but rather on Snicket himself.
The first book in Snicket’s new four-part series, titled “Who Could That Be At This Hour?,” will be released this October through Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The series will be titled “All The Wrong Questions” and follows “events that took place during a period of [Snicket's] youth spent in a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted,” according to the publisher. “Snicket chronicles his experiences as an apprentice in an organization nobody knows about. While there, he began to ask a series of questions – wrong questions that should not have been on his mind.” The book, according to the publishers, is the first “authorized” account of Snicket’s childhood.
Seth, a graphic novelist whose real name is Gregory Gallant, will be illustrating the new books. A million copies have been ordered for the first printing.
“These books are questionable and contain questions,” Snicket said of the new series. “I, for one, question why anyone would be interested in reading them.”
Snicket’s biography on his official website, titled “The Afflicted Author,” hints at events like a scandal that disgraced the author and his investigations into the Baudelaire orphans.
“His family has roots in a part of the country which is now underwater,” the biography states of Snicket’s early years. “And his childhood was spent in the relative splendor of the Snicket Villa which has since become a factory, a fortress and a pharmacy and is now, alas, someone else's villa. To the untrained eye, Mr. Snicket's hometown would not appear to be filled with secrets. Untrained eyes have been wrong before.”
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.