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Trader (Newford #4)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,266 ratings  ·  103 reviews
A novel of loss, identity, and, in the strangest of places, hope.

Leonard Trader is a luthier, a maker of guitars. Johnny Devlin is chronically unemployed. Leonard is solitary, quiet, responsible. Johnny is a lady-killer, a drunk, a charming loser.

When they inexplicably wake up in each other's bodies, Johnny gleefully moves into Leonard's comfortable and stable existence, l
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Orb Books (first published 1997)
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City of Bones by Cassandra ClareMoon Called by Patricia BriggsVampire Academy by Richelle MeadHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingMagic Bites by Ilona Andrews
The Best Urban Fantasy
152nd out of 2,811 books — 9,792 voters
The Onion Girl by Charles  de LintSomeplace to Be Flying by Charles  de LintMoonheart by Charles  de LintDreams Underfoot by Charles  de LintThe Little Country by Charles  de Lint
The Best of Charles de Lint
8th out of 51 books — 34 voters

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Community Reviews

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Charles de Lint is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite authors - frankly, given how long I've enjoyed similar urban fantasists like Neil Gaiman, I can't believe it's taken me this long to come across his stuff. And his handling of this premise makes it slightly horrifying and definitely compelling enough to overcome its slight shop-wear.

This particular volume was recommended to me by a fellow musician, as proof of de Lint's fine grasp of what it means to be a musician. I must say, in that s
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Max Trader is a luthier who wakes up one morning in a body not his own. After the initial panic and a little further investigation, Trader finds out that charming, womanizing rake, Johnny Devlin, has wished for a different life and somehow they have traded bodies. Devlin has no intention of trying to switch back. He gets a fresh start while Trader tries to navigate his way through the wreckage of Johnny's life. While learning about Johnny, though, Devlin learns a few things about his own life an ...more
Charles De Lint isn't a perfect writer from a literary standpoint, and every time I read one of his books there are a few moments where I find myself restructuring his sentences in my head, or changing some wording around, to make it all flow more smoothly. Despite all of this, I adore his books. He goes so far beyond making up for slight weaknesses in his style that it seems petty to even bring them up. The characters in his books are more like real people I actually know than any other literar ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: do you know? I'm not sure.
This book was slightly more mature for De Lint. It still brings up his favorite "don't overlook the spirits in homeless people!" theme a lot, and his sentimental view points of emos, goths, slackers, and all those other disaffected groups. He finds redemption in them. Which is sweet on some level, but again. He tends to beat it to death. The device for this one is about two vastly different guys who get their bodies swapped and their lives changed. One's a horrible guy and one's a good one. The ...more
I finished my book, I finished my book, I finished my book, I finished my book!!! I love it when I finish a book.

Good ol' Freaky Friday kind of story. The good guys win.
Stephen Gallup
I was casually browsing the book sale table at the library when this title caught my eye. "Trader" -- my first thought was that it might be about trading stocks or futures. Picking it up, I realized it was a fantasy -- way over at the other end of the spectrum, although on second thought the ambitions of your average trader probably do border on fantasy. But never mind that. I bought it anyway.

Nominally about Max Trader, a renowned but introverted maker of fine guitars, the story shows what hap
Aug 21, 2007 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Neil Gaiman
Shelves: dark-fantasy
Charles de Lint is probably one of the most brilliant writers at making you feel wretched one minute and then tremendous the next. He is not well known, but has produced an admirable body of work, all of which I'd term as Dark Fantasy. Many of his books center around the archetypal town of Newford (which I've always thought of as in Canada, for some reason) where dark and dangerous things always seem to happen. This is not horror, but a shadier side of fantasy. Reminds me a lot of Neil Gaiman, ...more
Frank Taranto
DeLint shines as usual. A wonderful and interesting tale about a man who shifts minds with another and his travails in finding a soltion to his probelm. Placed in his city of Newford, and using some of his long term characters, he again shows us a world of supernatural bordering and interacting with our world.
Another one of my favorites!
Bruce Nordstrom
I loved this book, and I think it is one of the best books de Lint has ever produced. It begins when a man wakes up in a body that is not his own, and when he tries to his body back, the body thief does not want to give it back.

This is the kind of thing that can only happen the Newford.

The plot becomes more involved, and complex. Twisting so you never know what is happening next. Ends in a journey beyond the end of the universe, and then it has to come back.

Lovely. Well worth reading.
Andrew Dyer
This book was intresting and keeped my intrest through out the whole book. This book out of most I have read really gave me a suprise through out the story with not only looking through the life of Leonard Trader but the different perspectives of other chaters as the story played out. "trader" realy gets enjoying to read whihle looking at a situation of a person how has swithed bodys with someone else and brings in other perceptions as you coutinue to read.Mostly Lenard Trader was try to find a ...more
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Though I only just read it, I can't describe my feelings for this book as anything other than intensely personal and deeply rooted. It's been on my bookshelf for years, and I've always known I would love it. But for some reason I kept reading only the first few pages, and when I'd see it in my shelves would remember how glorious they were. I kept wanting a "perfect" time to read it - just as I did with Wuthering Heights (which I kept thinking of as a "winter book" and eventually read in mid-summ ...more
Elizabeth Giosia
When I began reading Trader, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think. Most people I’ve spoken with about de Lint’s writing tell me that he’s urban fantasy, so I was waiting for werewolves lurking in the hedges or vampires tromping down the sidewalks, interspersed with more sexual encounters than one could shake a stick at.

De Lint does none of this, and I must say: I am so much happier for it. Unlike other novels I’ve read in the urban fantasy genre, de Lint creates a town that is seemingly normal,
Marie Browne
This book starts with a good boost for me because I really like the way DeLint writes. Trader is another of his urban fantasy books that brings back a lot of his favourite characters such as Jilly and Geordie but introduces us to some new players as well.

As usual the action has a musical/arty theme and his characters tend to be a little boho and 'alternative'.

The only reason I'm giving this only three stars is that, in this book, his moral message is delivered with a slightly less subtle hand th
Masha Toit
This book is a sort of fantasy equivalent of Kafka's Metamorphosis: A Max Trader, a well respected instrument maker, wakes up in the body of another man. The man who's body and life Max now inhabits is Johnny, the human equivalent of a cockroach; a nasty loser who cheats, steals and treats everyone around him with contempt. An Johnny has taken over Max's body and life.

The story follows Max's attempts to make sense of what happened to him and to regain his old life. He has to deal with the people
Aug 27, 2011 Cupcakencorset rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: urban fantasy fans
Trader is pure magic, not just in the central plot point of the story, but also in the language and world-building. The main plot involves two men who wake up in each other's bodies and have to deal with the very real possibility that they may not get back to their own bodies, their own lives, before irrevocable damage is done... if ever. Complicating the matter is the fact that only one of the men really wants his old life back. Add in a terrific group of secondary characters, a heavy dose of u ...more
Max Trader is a successful luthier - a master guitar maker - with a quiet, relatively contented life. Johnny Devlin is selfish, mean spirited and chronically unemployed. One morning the two of them wake up in each other's bodies. Devlin quickly and gleefully sets up in Trader's life, while Trader - friendless, penniless and about to be homeless, attempts to reclaim some semblence of his former life...[return][return]Bodyswopping - a tired, worn out science fiction cliche you might say. But this ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
When Max Trader wakes up in the body of Johnny Devlin, a man he has never met, he can not believe that his comfortable life has been usurped by a loser who is just about to get evicted for non-payment of rent. But Max lives in Newford where the threshold of the world of spirits that most people only visit in their dreams is easily breached, and the street people are closer to the liminal zone than most, so when he finds himself living in a park with a stray dog, his new friends and the real John ...more
Amazing, inventive real urban fantasy. De Lint has a way of writing the mundane, the everyday lives and imbuing them with magic. Then when real magic shows up (in this case a body switch à la Freaky Friday), it has a poignancy and a drama that isn't present in typical high fantasy.
Loved the characters, I felt like I knew the characters. I could relate to Max, I recognized myself in Lisa, I felt for Nia and I want to see Zeffy play.
Music is woven through the plot in a subtle melody, from Max be
An interesting take on the "switched bodies" story. A lot of De Lint's usual cast of characters pop up here, so you'll be among friends so to speak. I think too many of his books end with people going into the dreamlands/spirit world but the dynamic between the asshole Johnny Devlin and the main character, Max Trader, was interesting enough to keep me reading.
Helena R-D
It was truly a good book. It took a bit to get into it, since it tells the story of two people switching out their lives. One is an utter jerk with no real life prospects and the other is simply detached from life. On the way to getting their lives back, they come across many other people that also end up examining and looking at their lives and starting change for the better.

I loved it, since it gave a different perspective on the journeys that people need to undertake when discovering themsel
Sep 08, 2014 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Jen
Shelves: fiction
Without making any specific pop culture references, this novel felt so very mid-90's. Maybe it was the repeated mention of "in-line skates."

Also, he needs to find another way to write "little say.." which I guess is a Canadian way of saying "not to mention..."
This was my introduction to urban fantasy. It hooked me. Two men trade bodies by accident and the protagonist must deal with the consequences of ending up in the body of a man who has been an irresponsible loser.
As far as science fiction goes, this book wasn't that bad. It's not a genre that I'm really into. I liked the concept of two strangers waking up in each others bodies - one with good intentions and the other not so good. However, the ending was very strange and left me unsatisfied. Plus, they introduced a lot of subcharacters.
Roy Mesler
I feel like there is a kernel of awesome here that would have made an excellent short story. However, the story gets mired in relationship dialogue that had me just flipping pages to get back to the plot. Also, there is a change of setting that happens rather abruptly, which I felt it didn't quite earn. (I had a similar problem with a certain chunk of The Wise Man's Fear.) If this is part of a series (I'm guessing it is since the Goodreads entry lists it as "Newford, #7") then maybe the interact ...more
S'ok. Up until it went all freaky and they crossed to the other side. Then the uncomfortable mix of fantasy/magic and a present day setting starting to get all swirly and rough and made me seasick. Sorry, I can only stomach fantasy in it's purest form. A traditional fantasy tale suits me to a tea, but mixing reality and fantasy in such laconical manner shits me. To expect the reader to accept all this magic voodoo shit happened in a real world setting, the cause and mechanics needs to be properl ...more
Charles De Lint writes urban fantasy, that is stories of modern people in modern towns who have some small or large contact with magic. This book's plot is that a "good" and an "evil" person switch bodies and have to deal with there new lives. The book doesn't 100% track that plot, it is more a bunch of slice-of-life stories about the people who come in contact with the "good" character.

I really enjoyed reading the book, especially the first 2/3s, and recommend it. However thinking about it now
Interesting premise, Max wakes up in someone else's body and realizes that he wasn't living his own to his fullest potential. Along the way a former drug addict finds her bliss and a rebellious teen comes to terms with her mother's sexual orientation. Sound unlikely? Seem like the changing bodies is as realistic as the rest? Pretty much. I have heard of de Lint but this is the first of his books that I read. It's not bad, but I don't see what the loyal following is all about. I will read more of ...more
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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
More about Charles de Lint...

Other Books in the Series

Newford (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #2)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5)
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • Forests of the Heart (Newford, #7)
  • The Onion Girl (Newford, #8)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Spirits in the Wires (Newford, #10)
  • Widdershins (Newford, #11)

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“Look inside yourself for the answers - you're the only one who knows what's best for you. Everybody else is only guessing.” 73 likes
“Well, you know this world isn't perfect.' 'No, you're wrong. This world IS perfect, people just come along and mess it up sometimes.” 21 likes
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