Where Are the "Series of Unfortunate Events" Books Supposed to Take Place?

Or IOW, are the Series of Unfortunate Events books British? And are they supposed to take place in Britain? I’m getting a very vaguely British vibe from the books. I have my reasons; they’re not good reasons, but I have my reasons nonetheless.
[li]Lemony Snicket. A “lemony snicket” sounds like a candy or an ice cream treat that I could buy in London or Liverpool; not in Springfield.[/li][li]Briny Beach. The beach where the children were playing that fateful day seems to tickly my memory some vague way. Like, I vaguely remember hearing of a beach in Britain with a very similar name; maybe Brighton Beach?[/li][li]The humor has a dead-pan feel to it, much like a lot of British humor that I’ve seen and heard throughout my life.[/li][li]Count Olaf. There are no Counts in the US. Well there may be, but they generally don’t call themselves “Count Suchnsuch.”[/li][/ul]

[li]I haven’t encountered any British spellings (gaol/jail, tyre/tire, colour/color, etc.) or any British words (jumper/sweater, torch/flashlight, etc.). That may just be because I’m reading the US edition instead of the UK edition. BUT,[/li][li]If the book was written in British and I were reading it in American, then the SDMB would have at least three threads bemoaning the compromise of the author’s original text, much like the noble platitudes we see in so many of the Harry Potter threads.[/li][/ul]

So, who is this Lemony Snicket for real, and where is he from? Has he stated where the books are supposed to take place (I’d post that he’d deliberately be ambiguous about where they took place and say it was a sort-of “anywhere and nowhere and everywhere” kind of country.

I always entertained the thought that they took place in some sort Germanic country because of the names Klaus and Olaf.

There’s a loathsome little community in Illinois named “Springfield”…

:wink: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

I my own cranium, they’re British. I don’t think they are meant to take place in a real world setting.

“Briny Beach” may be ringing some Lewis Carroll bells for you. In the Walrus and the Carpenter, they invite the oyster children to walk with them “along the briny beach.”

I’ve seen a couple of trailers, and it looks like a fun film; but I’ve never heard of Lemony Snickets before. What’s the history?

My daughters have the Unofficail Autobiography of Lemony Snicket. It comes in a plain brown dustcover which reverses to the cover for a wonderful uplifting happy-happy-joy-joy children’s book titled The Pony Party.

All of your questions may be addressed in this work, but none of them answered. It does seem to be a American pseudo-Brit effort.

Well, I see it as an amalgam of San Fransisco and imagination land. I think (I might be wrong) that the author lives in San Fransicso, and I think there were some pictures where it looked like they had big hills. I think also they took cable cars to get somewhere once. Since I’ve never been to San Fransisco, I like to think that if I went to San Fransisco, it would be exactly like the books.

They take place in an indeterminate location in an equally indeterminate time period.

You couldn’t buy one anywhere. At least not before the books – I suppose it’s possible some confectioner has since attempted to profit from the name.

*There aren’t any English counts either. They’re earls, although their female counterparts are called countesses.

I think it’s staggeringly unlikely that Olaf is actually of noble birth anyway, though. He’s just using the title as an affectation.

*Snicket’s publicity assistant/ghostwriter/alter ego is Daniel Handler, an American from San Francisco. This doesn’t answer the question of where the books are meant to be set, but they are not the work of a British author so there’s no British English used.

According to the “Aggravating Author” section of the official website, this is all that’s known about Snicket’s age or homeland:

“Lemony Snicket was born before you were, and is likely to die before you as well. His family has roots in a part of the country which is now underwater, 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.”

You’ve never heard of them because they do not exist. Handler invented the name while working on an earlier project that involved researching militia groups. He didn’t want his real name on their mailing lists or anything. See here for an interview.

Daniel Handler was a New Yorker, and now lives in San Francisco. I knew him as the accordion player for The Magnetic Fields and author of the hilarious novel The Basic Eight and the frankly bizarre and uncomfortable-making novel Watch your Mouth before this whole Lemony Snicket business blew up. The Magnetic Fields do music for the audibooks of “A series of unfortunate events” under the name “The Gothic Archies.”

I always thought the books were intentionally made to have a non-specific, faux-European vibe a la Roald Dahl or Edward Gorey.

Oh, for those of you who haven’t gotten very far into the series yet, it may help to know that Lemony Snicket is not merely a pseudonym for Daniel Handler – he is the first-person narrator of the books. Part of the overarching mystery of the series is how he is connected to the orphans, and why he feels obligated to research and then tell their story (as unpleasant as it is).

And who is the late Beatrice, to whom each volume is dedicated?

Ahhh, not having read the books, but merely descriptions of them, I too was wondering if they took place in Britain or not. Since ISTM, that along other problems with the setup, British Common Law might make the Tricking-into-marriage attempt problematic, perhaps moreso than in other legal traditions that may focus less on intent, but then again, IANAL, IANABrit and I havent’ read the books.