I’m an admiring fan of Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy, as you may know, and just finished another one: The Onion Girl (published in 2001). This is the story of Jilly who is recovering from a devastating hit and run car accident. While she sleeps her hospital bed she escapes into the Faerie Dreamlands she’s fervently believed in her entire life.
Fantasy is often accused of being ‘mere escapism’ but I find that this is the argument of one too unimaginative to see what’s going on. Even someone as jaded as that would find something different in this book. The Onion Girl explores a fascinating cost/benefit analysis of too much escape and too much reality as well as too little of either. This deftly made me consider the (moon) heart of de Lint’s genius at juxtaposition. Reality. Fantasy. City. Manidò-Akì.
This is the first story in the Newford series that I have read and I found it very accessible. I enjoyed all 508 pages and certainly want to read more about Newford.
Four of de Lint’s trademark canids (think Native Tricksters) appear here but are much more human seeming than in other of his books. I very much enjoyed his Eadar characters Toby and Ruefayel. They remind of Cornelia Funke’s Dustfinger character in Inkheart … I wonder if she thought him up after reading de Lint?
If you haven’t had the pleasure, I recommend anything by de Lint.
If wishes were horses
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