Memory and Dream

Image of Memory and DreamsISBN: 0330339591
Once Upon a Time Challenge
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Katherine Mulley had been dead for five years and two months, the morning Isabelle received the letter from her.

I’ve read a few of De Lint’s books in recent years (and how old does typing that make me feel) but I think this may be my favourite so far. It tells the story of Isabelle Copley, an artist who has, in many ways, retreated from the world to live in isolation on an island, and the beings her paintings breathe life into. The story takes place over twenty years, and a lot is told through flashbacks, as well as the odd journal entry. The majority of the story we see through Isabelle’s eyes (though not in first person), but there are few others who have bits and pieces to tell us as well. The use of flashbacks and these different narrators means that the reader is never sure what happened in the past. Important events seem so different depending on the character, but it never gets so frustrating that I wanted the author to have used a different story-telling device.

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Image of TitheA Modern Tale of Faerie
ISBN: 0689860420
Read for the Once Upon A Time challenge.
See also: About Holly Black ; Stainless Steel Droppings ; Book~Adorer ; The page wanderer
Other OUAT challangees: bottle of shine ; Stephanie’s books ; Cafe Shree

Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother’s beer bottle

Our hero, Kaye, has always seen faeries and their ilk. Her mother dismisses these characters as imaginary friends and Kaye has always accepted her weirdness makes her difference from other people her own age. But when she moves back home and meets up with her old friends she realises just how different she is from her few friends.

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The Tooth Fairy

Read for the Once Upon A Time Challenge
See also: Author’s Site ; Scooter Chronicles ; SF site ; Tier 3000

I’ve read a few Graham Joyce books at this stage; this one by him won the British fantasy award so I was hoping for good things. It tells the story of Sam, a young boy growing up in 1960s England, who one night is visited by the tooth fairy, an entity that is not the insect sized woman with wings that you might expect. Instead he or she changes depending on circumstances. Sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes an androgynous figure, but always unsettling and unwelcome in Sam’s life.

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Two rivers. Flowing in contrary directions.
Two layers of water, each moving steadily, separate and self-possessed.

When I was thinking of books to read for the myth section of Carl’s challenge I did consider the Iliad, and the Odyssey too, so when I was wandering around the library and stumbled across this book it seemed perfect. And I’m so glad I picked it up; it makes for a really good read.

The hero with a thousand faces

Whether we listen with aloof amusement to the dreamlike mumbo jumbo of some red-eyed with doctor of the Congo, or read with cultivated rapture thin translations from the sonnets of the mystic Lao-tse; now and again crack the hard nutshell of an argument of Aquinas, or catch suddenly the shining meaning of a bizarre Eskimo fairy tale: it will be always the one, shape-shifting yet marvellously constant story that we find. together with a challengingly persistent suggestion of more remaining to be experiences than will ever be known or told.

I think maybe I’m just not in the mood for studious type books. At least, that’s the excuse I’m making for not really enjoying this book. Then again it may simply be that we’re all aware of these great themes that so many myths and fictions retell over and over again. Back in 1949 it was all original and new and so of course deserved all that attention. Now? Well the writing style is a little on the ponderous side and I think I’ve read most of these arguments before.