Friday, June 4, 2010

Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles de Lint

"Tapping the Dream Tree" is a compilation of stories by Charles de Lint set in and around Newford. Newford is a town, somewhere in North America, that de Lint created and populated years ago. While he does write fantasy in other locations and stories that are entirely unrelated, he is known for coming back to Newford and developing the characters there that he loves so much.

I have read quite a few of de Lints books set in Newford, so I always enjoy reading a new one (new to me at least), and getting to know more about these characters I love so much! One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was learning some more of the connections between characters, and finding out more of the back story on other characters. I completely enjoyed the entire book, but as usual, there were a few stories that stick out in my memory.

"The Words that Remain" is a haunting ghost story staring Christy Riddell. I've always identified with Christy's character in that he is both a writer, and a believer in the fantastic (although I don't take it anywhere near as seriously as he does). As such, he often uncovers interesting stories because he's both open to them, and because people bring them to him knowing he is a writer and collects these stories. The story he collects this time is about a ghost in the hotel he's staying in while at a writers conference.

"Masking Indian" fascinated me because it combines the fantastic and ghostly, and crafting! Anything that involves creativity and art catches my eye. This story tells of loss and healing in a beautiful way.

"Pixel Pixies" goes back and tells the beginning of the friendship between two of my favorite characters, Holly the book store owner, and Dick, the Hob who eventually becomes her business partner. Holly isn't usually one of de Lints main characters, but she pops up a lot in talking about the Word Wood and other characters often visit her briefly for advice or when doing research. I've always thought it would be fun to own a bookstore, so I think I live a little vicariously through her whenever she pops up in a story!

"Seven Wild Sisters" is the lasts story in the book, and it's a short novel in its own right since it takes up the last 240 some pages of this book! Many of the characters are familiar, the sisters mentioned show up in a variety of his other stories, but the reason I loved it is that it concludes the tale of Lily. Lily is now an old woman, but when we first meet her in "A Circle of Cats," she's a young girl. This is the third story I know of with her in it, and it fascinates me to see how de Lint develops her character over the course of her life! The magic and mystery in the story are quite compelling as well.

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