Monday, June 22, 2009
The Onion Girl
Charles de Lint
From Publishers Weekly:
Life is truly an act of magic in Canadian author de Lint's triumphant return to Newford, his fictitious North American city, with its fascinating blend of urban faerie and dreamworld adventures. When Jilly Coppercorn becomes a victim of a hit-and-run driver, her happy life as a popular Newford artist comes to a screeching halt. Half of her body, including her painting hand, no longer works properly, and the prospect of a long recovery, despite supportive friends, depresses her. Her dreams - the only escape she enjoys - connect her to friend Sophie's dreamland of Mabon. Another friend, of otherworldly origin, Joe Crazy Dog, calls it manido-aki, a place where magic dwells amid mythic creatures and e-landscapes far away from the World As It Is. Joe also knows that's where Jilly must heal what has broken inside herself to speed recovery of her physical body. Complications ensue when her friends discover that someone broke into the artist's apartment after the accident and destroyed her famous faerie paintings. De Lint introduces yet another intriguing character, the raunchy, wild and furious Raylene, as dark as Jilly is light, who deepens the mystery. Is she Jilly's shadow self, or a connection to a past Jilly would rather forget? This crazy-quilt fantasy moves from the outer to the inner world with amazing ease and should satisfy new and old fans of this prolific and gifted storyteller, whose ability to peel away layers of story could earn him the title "The Onion Man."
Go here to check out my previous thoughts on de Lint. Then, if you feel like it, go read this post to find out why people are asking me questions about The Onion Girl.
Bart’s Bookshelf asked “I've read and enjoyed (but not loved) a couple of De Lints, is this one, the one that might fully convert me to the De Lint cause?”
Hmmm, sorry to dash your hopes, but I don’t think so. But then, I'm not exactly an expert on de Lint. I started with Dreams Underfoot. Have you read that one? It’s a collection of interwoven short stories, and I absolutely loved it. Then I read The Onion Girl, which I found interesting, but a bit long. And finally, I never finished Widdershins, another of his novels. So while I still love de Lint’s work, I think I do better with his short stories.
And Heidenkind wonders, “Okay, Onion Girl--do you need to read de Lint's other books to enjoy that? Because I tried to read it a while ago and I was just totally lost. Then I was talking to someone else about it (who really loved it), and she said I need to read all of de Lint's short stories in order to get it.”
I can see why you would be totally lost if that was your first attempt at de Lint. As I just mentioned in response to Bart (whose name isn’t really Bart, but whose real name escapes me at the moment), I started with Dreams Underfoot. After that I read The Onion Girl, and I did just fine. I’m sure I missed a few things because I haven’t read ALL of his short stories (and there are a lot of ‘em), but oh, well
If I were to pick up another de Lint book, I’d gravitate to his short stories. While I’m not usually a fan of short stories, there’s just something about his writing (and my reading his writing) that lends itself to that particular format. At least in my opinion. What do the rest of you de Lint fans think?