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Thomas the Rhymer

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thomas the Rhymer (1990) Ellen Kushner

thomas-the-rhymerOf course I’d read this before. But after rereading Swordspoint, I wanted to read it again.

This is actually a novel based upon the folklore and myth surrounding Thomas the Rhymer, told in four parts. The first is told by Gavin, a crofter, living in the hills with his wife.

We learned more from him of his travels in the outside world, the sights he’d seen adn the people he’d known. It was a s good as being there, without the bother.

That best sums up Gavin I think.

The second is told from the point of view of Thomas himself, and tells of his time in Elfland, and although it’s the longest section, I think I prefer the other sections, where we see Thomas from the outside.

Though he does have his moments.

…the notes should be held a moment longer than the rhythm suggests, just as a person telling his grief pauses in pain before revealing it… until at least the sorry overwhelms him, and it comes rushing out, like waves onto the land.

The third part–Thomas’ return from Elfland–is told Meg, Gavin’s wife. I think she may be my favorite.

“Mistress,” the minstrel frowned, “if you were any sharper, we could see you at the fair for scissors.”

But she’s not all tongue and sharp edges.

“Tom,” Meg stopped in gravely, “don’t say such things. Perfection isn’t more mankind. Something might hear you.”

The last section is told by Elspeth, Thomas’ sweetheart and then wife, who still felt like a stranger when we came to her section. Hers was the hardest story: the woman left behind, and who had to make her own way thinking he would never return.

In the sleepless dark, all things are possible, the worst most likely, all darkness visible.

This story is like Swordspoint, a long stroll through magical lands. There is little action of adventure, just the lives unfolding.

One last line, that struck me as the way someone might describe me:

“If we get into Heaven on faith alone, she’ll be shoveling coals for eternity.”

Probably so.
Rating: 9/10

Published by Bantam Books

 
 

Categories: 9/10, Fantasy, Folk & Fairy Tales, Romance     Comments (0)    



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