Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dreams Underfoot

by Charles de Lint
In this collection of nineteen short stories, de Lint introduces us to several characters who appear in his acclaimed Newford series. On his personal website, de Lint says, "The books have all been written in such a way that you should be able to pick up any one and get a full and complete story. However, characters do reoccur, off center stage as it were, and their stories do follow a sequence. The best place to start is the collection Dreams Underfoot. From there they go pretty much in this order:

The Dreaming Place
A Whisper To A Scream (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")
I'll Be Watching You (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")
Memory And Dream
The Ivory And The Horn
Someplace To Be Flying
Moonlight And Vines
Forests Of The Heart
The Onion Girl
Seven Wild Sisters (also available in Tapping the Dream Tree)
Tapping the Dream Tree
Spirits in the Wires
Medicine Road
The Blue Girl
Make a Joyful Noise (chapbook)
The Hour Before Dawn (collection)
Old Man Crow (chapbook, forthcoming)
Little (Grrl) Lost (novel, forthcoming)
Promises to Keep (short novel, forthcoming)
Dingo (short novel, forthcoming)

The Dreaming Place and The Blue Girl are YA novels. A Whisper To A Scream and I'll Be Watching You are, respectively, a horror novel and a thriller; they're darker fare than the other Newford books and aren't really that integral to the underlying, ongoing backstory that takes place off center stage in so many of the books and stories."

I plan on reading more of de Lint's books, so I thought it would be handy to have this list posted where I can refer to it again.

The stories in this book are classified as urban fantasies - the set is 'real life' but at the periphery is magic. I like the stories and I like de Lint's writing. I'm afraid I've marked too many passages that I especially enjoyed, but I did, so let's get on with it:

". . . somehow my unearned beauty gave me an intrinsic worth that far overshadowed Emma's cleverness with her schoolwork, or Betsy's gift for music. It always seemed unfair to me. My value was based on an accident of birth; theirs was earned. Those are assets with which a body can grow old."

". . . if stories have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned, or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale."

". . . everything he said continued to pull a kind of tickle out from deep in her mind so that while she didn't completely understand him, some part of her did."

"The past scampers like an alleycat through the present, leaving the paw prints of memories scattered helterskelter-here ink is smeared on a page, there lies an old photograph with a chewed corner, elsewhere still, a nest has been made of old newspaper headlines. There is no order to what we recall, the wheel of time follows no straight line as it turns in our heads."

"Beauty isn't what you see on TV or in magazine ads or even necessarily in art galleries. It's a lot deeper and a lot simpler than that. It's realizing the goodness of things, it's leaving the world a little better than it was before you got here. It's appreciating the inspiration of the world around you and trying to inspire others."

"A name can't begin to encompass the sum of all her parts. But that's the magic of names, isn't it: That the complex, contradictory individuals we are can be called up complete and whole in another mind through the simple sorcery of a name. And connected to the complete person we call up in our mind with the alchemy of their name comes all the baggage of memory."

A few of the stories started with a quote from someone other than the author. These three caught my attention:
"The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; is is essentially a part of it." -Romany saying

"I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face." -Johnny Depp

"What unites us universally is our emotions, our feelings in the face of experience, and not necessarily the actual experiences themselves." -Anais Nin


chrisa511 said...

I love de Lint. I started with Greenmantle earlier in the year and I've been hooked on him since then. He's a fabulous writer!

Ana S. said...

I love that Anais Nin quote. And this: ". . . if stories have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned, or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale."

I really need to read Charles de Lint.

Jill said...

One thing that I love about de Lint is that (especially in the more recent books - in response, I think, to reader requests) he often writes in the foreword about the music he listened to while writing the book. I've discovered some wonderful CDs through him. I never listen to "Onion Girl" by Holly Cole without thinking of Jilly Coppercorn!

Carrie K said...

I love Charles de Lint. Urban fairy tales speak to me and I love how his charaters deal in ethical life changing matters.

DebbieJRT said...

deLint is wonderful! I started reading him years ago and have recently been using PaperbackSwap to collect some of his older and harder to get novels. New (to me) deLint!!

Alyson said...

Sounds like an interesting concept, writing different the characters appearing in the other stories.

I wonder if that quote by Johnny Depp was in reference to his role as Capt. Jack Sparrow. He always looked to be in a state of confusion in those movies.

Booklogged said...

Chris, I have bookmooched a couple more de LInts that are not part of the Newford series - can't wait to get to them.

Nymeth, that quote makes so much sense to those of us who read, doesn't it?

Darla D, I didn't realize there was music. Thanks for informing me. I'm going in search of Onion Girl.

Chris, I like how mellow and wise some of his characters are. And his writing is beautiful.

Debbiejrt, I'm amazed with how many novels he's written and I've only recently found him.

Aly, They are interesting books. That quote does fit Jack Sparrow. Husband & daughter went to see #3 last night. They said it was very funny, but K didn't like the ending.