|The Vile Village|
|Number in Series||
Book the Seventh
71 Black Crow Feathers and one long roll of a scroll
Top: Baudelaire children
Hector's Secret Library
Klaus is seen picking up notes of the Quagmire's and Violet and Sunny are in the background, a magazine labeled "Last Chance".
|Letter to the Editor||
The Vile Village is the seventh book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, published in May 2002. After escaping Olaf once again, the Baudelaire orphans are taken into the care of a whole village, only to find lots of rules and chores, evil seniors, and Count Olaf and his evil girlfriend lurking nearby.
This book is considered to be the "plot twist" of the series, because the Baudelaires can no longer call on Mr. Poe for assistance after the events of this book, and they themselves are deemed "criminals". Also, after this point the Baudelaires are not assigned any legal guardians.
The book begins when the Baudelaires are in Mr. Poe's office, looking at The Daily Punctilio (a newspaper full of lies about the Quagmires and Count Olaf).Mr. Poe gives a brochure to the Baudelaires because a new program allows an entire village to serve as guardian. The children naturally choose V.F.D. as they recognise the acronym which Duncan and Isadora Quagmire had previously discovered is part of a terrible secret somehow related to Count Olaf.
Dear Reader: A Letter From Lemony Snicket
You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages.
I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats.
It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children's lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.
With all due respect,
- For Beatrice–
- When we were together I felt breathless.
- Now, you are.
- The Baudelaires are placed under the guardianship of the Village of Fowl Devotees.
The last picture of The Vile Village shows Klaus in the foreground, trying to pick up the scraps of the Quagmires' commonplace books, and Violet and Sunny in the background, being blown about by the wind. A copy of The Daily Punctilio appears in the scene, with an ad for the Last Chance General Store.
Letter to the Editor
TO MY KIND EDITOR,
PLEASE EXCUSE THE WORD STOP AT THE END OF EVERY SENTENCE STOP. TELEGRAMS ARE THE QUICKEST WAY TO DELIVER A MESSAGE FROM THE LAST CHANCE GENERAL STORE, AND IN A TELEGRAM, STOP IS THE WAY TO SIGNAL WHEN A SENTENCE STOPS STOP.
THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE INVITED TO A PARTY, WEAR YOUR THIRD NICEST SUIT AND PRETEND TO NOTICE A SPOT STOP. THE NEXT DAY, TAKE THE SUIT TO THE DRY CLEANERS FOR CLEANING STOP. WHEN YOU COME TO PICK IT UP, YOU WILL RECEIVE INSTEAD A SHOPPING BAG CONTAINING MY ENTIRE ACCOUNT OF THE BAUDELAIRE CHILDREN'S EXPERIENCES IN THIS AREA ENTITLED "THE HOSTILE HOSPITAL" ALONG WITH AN INTERCOM SPEAKER, ONE OF THE LAMPS MISTAKENLY DELIVERED TO HAL, AND A HEART-SHAPED BALLOON THAT HAS POPPED STOP. I WILL ALSO INCLUDE A SKETCH OF THE KEY TO THE LIBRARY OF RECORDS, SO THAT MR. HELQUIST CAN ILLUSTRATE IT PROPERLY STOP.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE MY LAST HOPE THAT THE TALES OF THE BAUDELAIRE ORPHANS CAN FINALLY BE TOLD TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC STOP.
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, LEMONY SNICKET
PS YOUR SUIT WILL BE MAILED TO YOU LATER STOP.
- Depressed- is a word that often desribes someone who is feeling sad and gloomy, but in this case it describes a secret button, hidden in a crow statue, that is feeling just fine, thank you.
- Main Article: References and allusions in Lemony Snicket's works
- At the start of the novel Mr. Poe receives a phone call from Mr. Fagin, a character from Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. Fagin tells Poe that he won't accept the children because they are trouble makers, which is ironic because, in Oliver Twist, Fagin runs a gang of pickpockets.
- Mr. Lesko, a town resident, has the same last name as author Matthew Lesko, who offered to teach his audience how to get free things. In The Vile Village, Mr. Lesko says that he is fine with receiving free labor from the Baudelaire children as they do his chores, so long as he does not have to parent the children.
- The name "Detective Dupin" is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's character C. Auguste Dupin.
- "Officer Luciana," Esmé's disguised name, is probably a reference to a character in Catch-22, a novel by Joseph Heller, who tears up an address and can never find it again, just as Esmé tears the Quagmire notebooks and they are never fully reassembled.
- Nevermore Tree is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven," in which a raven repeats the word "Nevermore."
- One of the towns on the "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" brochure is named Ophelia, perhaps referencing Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Mr. Poe dislikes the bank in this town, perhaps because Ophelia's father is the originator of the saying, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."
- Ogden Nash, a poet who wrote couplets, is mentioned.
- The initial unnerving nature of the crows in the city may be a nod to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
- When Hector quotes "one of the Baudelaires' favorite books" by saying, "Curioser and curiouser," he is quoting Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland.
- Five of Sunny's utterances, "Pipit," "Grebe," "Merganser," "Towhee," and "Vireo," are the names of birds.
- Sunny uses the word "Scylla" to explain that it would be better to live with regret on the Self-Sustaining Hot Air Mobile Home than to be burned to death at the stake. This is a reference to one of a pair of sea monsters in Homer's The Odyssey. The two monsters live so close together that it is virtually impossible to avoid both, and so Odysseus chose to head towards Scylla (the less dangerous of the two). Interestingly, Scylla and Charybdis were also mentioned in The Ersatz Elevator, although Klaus incorrectly claims that Heracles, rather than Odysseus, encountered them and escaped "by turning them both into whirlpools."
Several editions of The Vile Village have been published. Some of these include foreign editions or re-prints such as: The Vile Village (UK), The Vile Village (UK Paperback) and L'arbre aux Corbeaux.
The Vile Village (UK)
This edition has the same content as in the original one. The main difference here is the cover, which is black, has different fonts and a wine-red spine. Some colors in Brett Helquist's cover illustration were also changed. The book is published by Egmont. On each of the UK versions, between the coloured spine and the black cover there are narrow images depicting a reference to each books content. The Vile Village features a row of feathers. This is repeated on the back cover.
The Vile Village (UK Paperback)
This is a paperback version of The Vile Village released in the UK by Egmont Books in 2010. It has Lemony Snicket written on the top with A Series of Unfortunate Events written below it in an eye shape.
L'arbre aux Corbeaux
This French edition, published by Nathan Poche has a very different cover, Brett Helquist's illustration is not seen here, apart for a portrait of the Baudelaires. It is almost entirely black, with a white illustration of a crow.