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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Book Blogger Hop: Fictional Towns

This week’s question is “Is there a fictitious town in a book where you would love to live? What makes it appealing?”

I have pretty much dropped this for the moment while I get on with A to Z, but I can’t resist this question and my next post on Aussie children’s writers is tomorrow(N is for Garth Nix).

So, yes, there is a place I would move tomorrow if it was real. The place is Charles De Lint’s Newford.

Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of urban fantasy. His novels and short stories are set either in Canada or somewhere in the US, in this small town Newford. His stories use both Celtic Faerie and Native American spirits. In Moonheart, my favourite of his novels, there is a house on the border of this world and the other one. The heroine is a writer who listens to folk music and discovers that the  Native American spirits were turfed out by the Celtic ones when they came to North America from Europe and now live in the Otherworld. I did wonder why she was such a chain smoker till she visited the Otherworld and offered a cigarette to a Native American spirit, who was pleased to “share sacred smoke” with her! (I’ve met Charles De Lint at a science fiction convention and I don’t recall seeing him smoke, even when we all went out for dinner, so I assume it was just for the novel.). That book introduced me to some folk bands I’d never heard of, including Silly Wizard. Of course, I had to buy the CDs!

 That was not a Newford story, but it had the same flavour.

Newford is a small town somewhere in the US. It has fairies of the Celtic variety in the local park. We meet a forester who looks after the “forest” of the park. You just need to step in the right direction to be in the Otherworld. Native American spirits are around the place too. But that’s only a small part of why I would love to live in Newford.

Newford is an artist colony. It is overflowing with artists of various kinds, musicians, handcrafters  and writers. There is a cafe where you can go every week to hear folk bands play. Chances are that your neighbour is an artist of one kind or another(if they’re not a fairy or a native spirit). The protagonists of the Newford stories are all artists! Why would I not want to live there?

And by the way, this fiction inspired me to get into bead looming so I could make things with Native American designs. I took one of my belts to that convention where the De Lints were appearing(they are musicians themselves and performed for us). His wife, Maryann Harris, saw and admired my belt. I told her I’d got the idea from reading her husband’s work.

Here is a link to his page on SF Site, which describes his books and links you to where you can buy them.


Maria Behar said...

Hi, Sue! First off, SO sorry for the late comment back.....:( Sometimes I do get behind on my replies and comments back....

Having read your comment on this topic, on my blog, and now your WONDERFUL post, I could have kicked myself for not choosing Newford!! Well, actually, I could have featured this town right along with Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, right? Lol.

I have only read one De Lint work -- a collection of short stories with the title, "Dreams Underfoot". That was where I first encountered Newford and its artist inhabitants, plus the paranormal denizens. Charles De Lint became one of my favorite writers just based on this one book. I do have a couple of his novels, too -- "Widdershins" and "The Onion Girl". I need to read them!!

I LOVE all of these characters! I LOVE this fantasy world!! It's a shame no films based on these stories has ever been made. C'mon, Spielberg!! Get to it!!

How I envy you for having met De Lint and his wife!! And you even went out to dinner with them!!!! OMG!! You LUCKY, LUCKY girl!!!!! :) :) :)

I admire you for crafting a belt with a Native American theme. And De Lint's wife loved it, too!! AWESOME!! How about going back to this post and adding a picture of it? I'm SO curious!! :) :)

I'm going to check ouit those folk band CDs!! Of course, I LOVE that kind of stuff, too!!

Thanks for commenting on my BBH post, and for sharing this FASCINATING one!! HUGS!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! Yes, I went out for dinner with the De Lints and some friends of mine - Australian conventions are small enough that you can do that.( I remember sitting chatting in a hotel foyer with George R. R Martin, before anyone but SF fans had heard of him. We couldn’t afford him these days, he’d want First Class travel and goodness knows what else). Somewhere on this blog you’ll find a post about that convention. I went because Charles De Lint was GoH( WA is on the other side of Australia and it’s cheaper to go to New Zealand than Perth from Melbourne) and because I was invited to be on a panel with him. (Did I mention that? 😁). The De Lints were a lovely couple. They played music for us and one day they sat in the foyer and jammed with a local musician, Ann Poore, who plays the harp. We got an impromptu concert!

My belt is somewhere in my craft basket waiting for repairs, but I will post a pic of it at some stage.