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Friday, April 15, 2016

Me And Charles De Lint

I've just downloaded two of Charles De Lint's novels and intend to download some more, his short stories especially. What he does - or did, at one stage, not sure if he still does - is write a short piece and produce a chapbook fir family and friends, as a Christmas gift. Then he produces a limited edition chapbook for the rest of us to enjoy. I have one of those - my sister, knowing I liked his writing, bought it for me at a second hand bookshop. And Lo, it was autographed!

In the end, though, it's the stories I love, signed or not.

Charles De Lint is a Canadian writer of mostly urban fantasy. In his stories, Celtic and Native American creatures mingle. Actually, as we learn in Moonheart, the European creatures booted out most of the indigenous spirits when they arrived, but you can still find them. Fair Folk have forests in the local park. In Jack The Giant Killer, one of the two novels I've bought, the Giants have their court in a skate rink in Ottawa, while the Faerie court is under Parliament House. You just have to be able to see them. Oh, and Jack is a girl.

There's folk music and tricksters, poets and artists and Native American beings, as well as Celtic Faeries  in his town Newford, where I have to tell you I'd move tomorrow if it existed! Who wouldn't love a place so full of creative artists, where you can go and hear folk music most nights of the week? Or meet a non human "forester" in the local park?

Moonheart was the second of his novels I read and one of my favourites. The heroine lives in a house on the line between our world and the Otherworld. She is a bookseller and a writer who works to the music of Silly Wizard(guess who went and bought one of their albums?) She meets Taliesin, the bard, who had been exiled from Europe and arrived in North America, where he made friends. Needless to say, he's rather hot!

Jack The Giant Killer was written as part of a series of fairy tale interpretations that included Pamela Dean's Tam Lin and Kara Dalkey's The Nightingałe, which was set in Japan instead of China and the nightingale was a girl who played the flute instead of a bird. It was a great series, but you can't get them all in ebook, so I grabbed this one, as well as the sequel, Drink Down The Moon, which I haven't read yet.

I was lucky enough to meet Mr De Lint and his wife Mary Ann at Swancon some years ago. Both of them are musicians and performed for us. In fact, they met when she inherited a mandolin and needed lessons. One of the attendees, Anne Poore, a brilliant harpist, simply did a jam session with them in the hotel foyer - an unofficial concert!

Lately, he's writing YA fantasy, which I must catch up with, as soon as the student currently reading it brings it back.


Unknown said...

The name sounds familiar, but I don't think I've read anything by him. How great that you love his writing and got to meet him and his wife! Have a lovely weekend. :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

He's best known for urban fantasy. And while he does have a location for many of his stories, a small town called Newford, he doesn't do trilogies, which endears him to me no end! He's probably written something you've heard of.