Tam Lin (Fairy Tale)
I loved the literary allusions. I found the characters, for the most part, quite believable- and the unbelievable ones were Myth Incarnate, so that was wonderful. The pacing was uneven and I'd have been just as happy had the last three years been as leisurely told as the first one. I'm familiar with the legend, and loved this treatment of it. Did I mention the rich literary trove this st...more
Language and lit...more
To come or gae by Carterhaugh, For young Tam Lin is there.
These are the first lines of the best-known version of the Scottish ballad Tam Lin, about a young man doomed to be given to hell by the faerie queen, and the young woman who saves him. It's a ballad whose fascination is enduring and which has inspired a number of retellings, of which Pamela Dean's is my favorite (followed closely by Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock).
All the action(!) -- what little there is here, and by "action" I mean "plot" -- happens in the last 150 pages... which I've just reached.
Why did I pick this up again? Oh yeah... recs. *headdesks*
DONE. Finally. *sighs deeply*
Unfullfilling ending. Just. Ends. Gods. After s...more
I'm a big ballad nerd, so it was cool seeing how the novel fit into the story, but I have to admit, I really hated this book to begin with. The first few scene-setting chapters read like they were written expressly for the notional bookish 13-year-old girl, dreaming of college (and, in places, by her). Janet...more
I almost never give 1 star to books I've actually finished, because they're bound to have some redeeming quality that will at least bring the rating up to 2. But the best I can say about this one is that it's not offensive--in fact, I share many of the author's opinions--and that the prose was at least competent enough for me to continue reading, but that isn't very redeeming when it so utterly failed to entertain that I threw it against a wall. (I really did!)
The (alleged!) premise of this...more
I found myself making comparisons to Marylin French's The Women's Room throughout: both are coming of age stories about strong women undertaking a liberal arts education at the end of the sixties / start of the seventies. Indeed, that is what this novel *is* - it isn't
This version takes place in the early '70s. And while I know the vernacular has changed since then, I have a hard time believing that college students were constantly quoting Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, etc. (Nowadays I figure we're lucky if kids have even heard of all of them!)
It seemed like the book took forever to get to the part where the original tale 'kicked in'. I even read the back co...more
I don't exactly hate it, but I don't love (or like it) either.
It's a great concept--a modern retelling of the Tam Lin ballad that takes place on a college campus, and one I've seen done before on various Internet incarnations, but not quite well. I'll give Pamela Dean this: she's a terrific writer when it comes to details and setting the scene. I felt like I was in the 1970s Midwest, but I also felt like it...more
It's just... such a nerd's paradise of a novel. Example:
When Janet and her newfound college friends find an Iliad quote in a tunnel on their first day of school, they start arguing over the best translation of the greek, and then exchange quotations for a few lines, before e...more