Newford series by Charles de Lint
These fantasies by Charles de Lint are amazing, among my favorite books of all time. What a pleasure it is to first discover a favorite author after he or she has already produced a sizable body of work! I found out about this author in the highly worthwhile but now probably defunct Fantasy/Sci-fi Book Club on Orkut, which I no longer use.
They are not like other fantasy. In particular, they are not that same-old-thing of Elven Kings or mind-controlled dragons. They take place in a modern-day city, Newford, which was apparently originally based upon Ottawa, but which includes elements of various other cities, such as Seattle's underground old city (in Newford the result of an earthquake, unlike Seattle's which resulted from filling in to raise the ground level to stop flooding), the US legal system and medical insurance. Each story begins in an entirely real situation, often involving serious themes such as homelessness and/or recovery from child abuse, but then reality takes an odd turn, and something impossible happens. Just as in traditional fairy tales, fantastic elements are not merely there to be amazing, but somehow serve a deeper meaning. The stories don't just stop, as so many do; they each end with a satisfying resolution.
The really cool thing about this series, for me, though, is the way characters previously seen in other stories keep popping up in new ones. They become much more real, as people, when seen from the viewpoint of different narrators. The whole city becomes a real place in the mind. I'm trying to read this series in order, but now I want to go back and reread the earlier ones, since events and details will mean more now that I know the other characters better.
I try hard not to buy books, I really do. I read as much as possible from the local public library, both to save money and because there's not enough room in my small house for me to keep a copy of everything I read. I read fast, and I read a lot. It's worth keeping copies of books that I will reread a number of times, though. Just about all the books in this series qualify. I don't plan to limit myself to this series, but want to read everything de Lint has written. The Newford series is surely the best way to start, thoughg. It's lovely.
I recommend that you read Kristin Tomic's introduction to the Newford series, an Amazon list called "So You'd Like to... Collect De Lint's Newford Series ".
The Dreaming Place
Memory and Dream
The Ivory and the Horn
Someplace to Be Flying
Moonlight and Vines
Forests of the Heart
The Onion Girl
Waifs and Strays
Tapping the Dream Tree
Spirits in the Wires
Posted: Mon - June 21, 2004 at 11:35 AM weblog: category: