Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Muse and Reverie

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Muse and Reverie (2009) Charles de Lint

I love Charles de Lint’s writing.

Adore it.

He writes of the magic that is hidden just beyond the perception of most of us, and of the power to heal, and he writes some of the strongest female characters of almost any author I know.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking these are Disney fairies and magic beings. The magic in Newford is dark and complex, but heals as much as it harms.

Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting Box (2002)
Refinerytown (2001)
A Crow Girls’ Christmas (2001)
Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion (2005)
Riding Shotgun (2003)
Sweet Forget-Me-Not (2002)
That Was Radio Clash (2004)
The Butter Spirit’s Tithe (2004)
Da Slockit Light (2003)
The Hour Before Dawn (2005)
Newford Spook Squad (2004)
In Sight (2005)
The World in a Box (2004)

Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting Box from Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. I won’t say this is one of my favorite stories, because I’m not sure how I would even be able to narrow that list down to something that wasn’t almost all of his stories, but I do like this one. Lily lives with her Aunt who took her in when she was orphaned. When the chores of the farm are done, she wanders into the woods, “walking in these woods of hers was a sure cure for any ailment, especially when it was in your heart or head,” drawing and sketching on scraps of paper she salvages (this seems to be set around the time of the Great Depression).

This story has some marvelous bits, from the importance of being out in the woods to the importance of living in the present.

“Sometimes people need fairies and fancies to wake them up to what they already have. They look so hard for the little face in the thistle, the wrinkled man who lives in a tree. But then they start to focus on the thistle itself, the feathery purples of its bloom, the sharp points of its thorns. They reach out and touch the rough bark of the tree, drink in the green of its leaves, taste of its fruit. And they’re transformed. They’re in their own world, fully and completely, sometimes for the first time since they were a child, and they’re finally appreciating what it has to offer them.

Refinerytown is a Mona story that has appearances by Jilly and Sophie. Mona is a comic strip artist who is collaborating on a different kind of strip–a non-autobiographical one. So she thinks. This story amuses me because it is absolutely full of name dropping, from Nina Hoffman to Charles Vess. It’s delightful.

This story takes place after Jilly’s accident.

A Crow Girls’ Christmas. The Crow Girls are a delight. I’m not sure I could take them long term, but in small doses they are lovely.

“Do they have lots of candy canes in stock?” Jilly asked.

“Mountains,” Zia assured her.

“Besides,” Maida added. “It’s all magic, isn’t it? Santa never runs out of candy or toys.”

That was before you were put in charge of the candy canes, Jilly thought, but she kept her worry to herself.

Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion from Magic Tails is a darker tale, but it’s also one I quite like. A Gypsy cab driver picks up a young woman who requests his help getting back her cat.

“Sometimes we don’t fulfill our potential only because there is no one in our life to believe in us.”

Riding Shotgun from Flights. This is another dark story, but it’s also one of redemption and second chances and how those don’t always turn out to be as you expect.

The old man didn’t get it— because it was different for his generation, I guess. You figured out what you wanted to be, what you could be given your situation in life, and that’s what you aimed for. He couldn’t understand that not only did I not know, I didn’t care.

Sweet Forget-Me-Not is a Gemmin story. It’s also a story that makes note of changing times.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Ahmad Nasrallah.”

“Well, what are they ragging you about? You look like a nice, normal kid.”

“No, I look like a terrorist.”

He studied me for a long moment, then gave me another nod, a slow one this time. “Because of the colour of your skin,” he said.

“Yeah. And my name.”

That Was Radio Clash from Taverns of the Dead. This is a time travel-ish story, and I generally dislike time-travel stories, but this one I like. It’s an ode to Joe Strummer, and another story about second chances.

The Butter Spirit’s Tithe from Emerald Magic: Great Takes of Irish Fantasy. I’d forgotten this one entirely, so reading it was very enjoyable, pretty much like reading it again for the first time. This is a story where Faerie are anything but benign.

Da Slockit Light has Meran & Cerin and the Crow Girls and Goon and Jilly, but mostly it’s about a young boy living on the streets and what kids like that may or may not need.

He heard the crowd wailing. Froome screeching.

And then he heard the sound of a harp and he figured he’d died and somehow managed to luck his way into Heaven, because where else did you hear harps?

“I am not happy,” a deep, resonating voice said.

Uh-oh, Louie thought. They figured out that I’m not supposed to be here in Heaven.

This is another story where Faerie are not so benign, but also how conflicts look different depending upon what side you’re standing on.

The Hour Before Dawn is a story about ghosts.

“You know, I never much cared for you when you were alive, and dead’s not turning out to be much of an improvement.”

And a man who came back from the Korean war with literal ghosts.

I don’t think anybody who goes to war can ever really let it go. Those first few weeks you’re home, they treat you like a hero. But eventually you have to live with the memories you’ve got sitting in your head.

Newford Spook Squad from Hellboy: Odder Jobs. I have the three Hellboy collections, but for some reason haven’t gotten around to reading them. I should remedy that, because with three volumes, some are bound to be as good as this one.

In Sight from Maiden, Matron, Crone. This one is actually not one of my favorites, although it’s not bad. It just feels like it’s missing something.

The World in a Box is a very interesting story about the power and the ability to wisely use power. Except, not that highfalutin.

Mostly, we just seem to muddle through our lives, and maybe that’s what we’re supposed to do. Learn what we can as we live our lives and make sure that we bring what goodness we can into the world at our individual level as we try to win back the darkness one little bit at a time.

I love these collections.
Rating: 10/10

Published by Tor

Categories: 10/10, Anthology, Fantasy, Urban     Comments (0)    

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