The Onion Girl
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The Onion Girl (Newford #11)

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  5,384 ratings  ·  307 reviews
"Charles de Lint has brought an entire imaginary North American city to vivid life, Newford: where magic lights dark streets; where myths walk clothed in modern shapes; where humans and older beings must work to keep the whole world turning." "He has peopled this city with extraordinary characters - people like Joseph Crazy Dog, also known as Bones, the trickster who walks...more
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Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Katzman
Aug 08, 2012 David Katzman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of de Lint
This isn’t a fantasy novel because it takes place half on Earth and half in a Spirit World that exists as a backdrop to all of reality. This isn’t a fantasy novel because it features wolf-headed, shape-shifting original people and crow girls. No, this isn’t a fantasy novel because there are fairies and Native American Earth spirits who share their wisdom. This is a fantasy novel because most of the characters in the story give a shit about each other.

That’s right. Pretty far-fetched, huh? de Lin...more
indiefishsteak
An amazing book that I did not want to let go of once I started the first paragraph. The story of Jilly, her incapacitating accident, healing old wounds, and adventures in the otherworld (or dreamland or whatever you prefer), of course. Unforgettable characters that question what it means to be bad or good and what causes those circumstances.

Be warned though that this book deals pretty heavily with sexual abuse/molestation and difficult backgrounds including homelessness, violence, and prostitut...more
Ambertronic
This is the book where Charles de Lint delves into the history of everyones favorite character: Jilly Coppercorn. It goes into how she came to be the person she is, and the catalyst that forces her to come to terms with her past. We find "magical-so-open-minded-her-brain-may-fall-out" Jilly has an unfortunate past that is echoed in many womens lives. The book also weaves together the colorful collection of characters de Lint has created over the years in his Newford short stories.

I prefer de Li...more
cindy
Aug 22, 2007 cindy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: idiots and those trapped in the realm of faerie
Shelves: abandoned
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...

What a clunker. I heard from the rest of the bookclub ladies that it wasn't great, but I was willing to give it a chance. Mistake.

I made it to page 49 and refused to proceed any further after reading this dreck:

"I believe in a different kind of magic," Sophie said. "The kind we make between each other. The kind that comes from our art and how it can change us. The world doesn't need any more than that."

Ugh. Irritating FruitCakey Artistes w...more
Chantal Boudreau
As I’ve mentioned before, while I’m a fantasy fan, I am very much a selective fantasy fan. Mr. De Lint is one of those fantasy authors – in his case urban fantasy – whom I have read before and I will definitely read again. There is a solid dose of realism to his fantasy fiction, the type of gritty biting edge, in places, that I adore. His characters are far from perfect (as characters should be in order for me to be able to relate to them), they go through great struggles and pain and they don’t...more
Charles
Jul 10, 2008 Charles rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy or surrealism; people interested in magic and native/indigenous folklore/traditions
Shelves: fantasy
Charles de Lint is the Man of urban fantasy writers. I really appreciate and respect his ability as a middle-aged man to return to a place of youth and wonder, as well as inhabit and develop female characters. It is impossible to not love Jilly Coppercorn. Her sister, Raylene, at first monstrous, is also supercool. De Lint eases the reader into empathy for her and and understanding of the roots of her violent, alienating, and callous ways. Joe Crazy Dog and his friends are pretty much bad asses...more
Heather G Gentle
This book was entirely bizarre but in a good way. It's a little hard to follow at the beginning going between worlds and several different view points but once I got used to that I really enjoyed it. Raylene's narrative was tough to read but once I got to know her character even she was intriguing. I would have liked to spend more time exploring the "other world" -- maybe in the sequel?
This is a fairly complex read with many interesting characters and overall I found it a wonderful read!
Jill
A friend of mine introduced me to this wonderful author by giving me this book. It is a fanatastic blend of reality and fantasy. It makes magic and folklore believable and real. DeLint also tells many of his stories using the same characters, though they aren't really serial. You really get to know Jilly and her friends but you can read the books in any order. I love all of his books and urge anyone who wants to believe in magic to check them out.
Jeanne
I was actually rather disappointed in this book. I'd had so many people tell me I just HAD to read Charles deLint if I was interested in Urban Fantasy. This was the first book I've read by him and although it hooked me right in the first paragraph, it became quite bogged down and getting through to the end took sheer effort for me. Where he really lost me was in the middle where he gets far too pedantic and preachy. I read fantasy to escape, not to be lectured. If this is what Urban Fantasy is a...more
Masha Toit
A difficult book to read. Onion Girl deals with the effects of child abuse, on the survivors and everyone else in their lives. I cant say I enjoyed it, exactly, but it is a compelling read. Charles de lint manages to get you to sympathise with characters who in another book, would be the villains. And no - those are not the abusers. The abusers are almost peripheral to the story.

He also manages the incredibly difficult task of writing about fairies, sprites and other magical beings without seemi...more
Judy
Nov 30, 2008 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Charles de Lint is one of the finest writers, and he writes a form of fantasy that is so accessible to people who don't necessarily want to read the fantasy that includes fairies, wizards, dragons, and castles. This is urban fantasy, it takes place primarily in our present-day world, in a city called Newford. The characters tend to be young adults, musical and artistic, well-read and complex.
Wealhtheow
The problem with De Lint is he's just not nearly as imaginative as he thinks he is. His "flights of fancy" are flat and derivative at best. Even worse, in my mind; he can't write believable dialog, friendships, or young people. At all.
Lis Carey
(De Lint has given a lot of attention, in his Newford stories, to the subject of child abuse; be warned that sexual abuse of young children is front and center in this book. It is not, however, excessively graphic.) Onion Girl is another of de Lint's urban fantasies set in the mythical Canadian city of Newford, this one focussing on the life and traumas of the normally irrepressibly cheerful Jilly Coppercorn.

On the opening page, Jilly is hit by a car, and lands in the hospital with a broken arm...more
Stephanie Swint
I have never read anything by Charles De Lint prior to listening to The Onion Girl. It is a very good book. I was suprised at how well he mixed the faerie world into what would be considered our world. The book is dark and I saw in reviews that it was very depressing and hard to read. I would say while it is a book that deals with dark issues it is one of hope and redemption. You do have to stick with it to get to the hope and redemption.

The book deals with issues of sexual abuse, at times grap...more
Lo
This was an interesting book, I have many (conflicting) opinions about it. On one hand, I found it amusing and overall, well, enchanting. On the other hand, I found it highly unrealistic (beside the faerie and dreamland element) and that the author was trying to paint a picture of something he didn't fully understand (yet, he captured a few things very well, like Raylene's programing skills).
The story revolves around the parallel yet radically different lives lived by Jilly and her little sist...more
Abby
Why, oh why have I never read Charles de Lint before now? I'm already in my mid-twenties, which means that a decade and a half of pure literary enjoyment has been lost! I guess I'll have to make up for lost time.

I was super happy after I finished the first book I've read by de Lint: The Onion Girl (by the way, I want the dress Jilly's wearing on the cover). He's a spectacular writer, getting into the gritty of things, bringing his readers the magic that lives in the places that are too dark to s...more
Jordan
I really liked this fantasy book and would recommend it, as well as Charles de Lint’s books in general, to anyone who likes modern-day fantasy, especially if they like books that are character driven and maybe a little slower-paced than other stuff on the market.

Despite that, though, this particular book comes with a few strings attached. Not to start with a negative, but I’ll just be up front about it and explain what the strings are.

For starters, it would be good to just point out that this bo...more
April Wadsworth
Jun 05, 2007 April Wadsworth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This novel is a fantasy novel with an urban setting. The story follows the life of a talented painter, Jilly Coppercorn who has the ability to dream herself over into the Dreamlands or Faerie.
The story line begins with Jilly in the hospital, struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Her body has been bruised and broken, and she finds that she is able to enter the dreamlands while asleep. Despite concern on the part of her friends, she becomes more withdrawn from the harsh realities of her wrec...more
Jackie
So between 3rd grade and probably 10th I read science fiction pretty exclusively, but then kinda grew out of it. Since college or so, I'll occassionally grab something from one of my old favorite authors (Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, etc.), but generally I've kinda been over them. I've really enjoyed the two Charles De Lint books I've read (including this one), however, I think because they're more character driven (i.e. how will the paralyzed girl adjust to not resuming her form...more
Russell
The title alone caught my interest, for I, too, believe people are Onions. We are all made up of layers: experience, beliefs, scars...There are about 20 out of the first 50 pages that are less than interesting. It was the writing style...the tedious descriptions of a room or Character's Mood...When I wanted nothing more than to read about Jill and Raylene, the author forced unnecessary information down my mental throat. But the pain went away. When the Minor characters once again became Minor, a...more
Purlewe
Every once in awhile I read a book that makes me want to push it on all my friends and say: read this, NOW! This is one of those books.

I was hooked from the first page. Jilly Coppercorn is a fantastic heroine. The intermingling of magic and myth is just too good for words. Jilly and her friends have wonderful worlds to travel, heartbreaks to heal, abuse to overcome, and strength beyond imagining.

I reached a point 100 pages from the end where I felt dread. I had a preconceived notion of where thi...more
Nora Peevy
The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint is my new favorite Newford novel, even though it's an older one. de Lint does a remarkable job explaining the origins of the character, Jilly Coppercorn, the beloved fae artist of his fictional town. As usual, de Lint blends world mythology into a modern tale seamlessly. I personally related to Jilly as the proverbial onion girl, as I am sure all of us can. We have all overcome painful obstacles throughout our lives. And it is how we deal with those challenges t...more
Peter
For better or for worse, this was actually the first Newford story I read. I have gathered that diehards who have read de Lint's numerous shorts and other novels with the same setting and sometimes shared characters that a novel centered around Jilly was a long time coming. Regardless, it's a great story with a rich set of conflicts and a well-done relationship between this world and the alternate world(s) people stumble into. Bits and pieces of Native American folklore add a nice layer.
Natalie Joan
Hmm.
When I read a fantasy novel, I tend to either obsess over it and the whole series love it or dismiss it entirely. I rarely have an in-between reaction.
When this book started, I thought I was having the latter reaction. I just didn't buy in right away. To me, fantasy should be completely detached from the real world. That's why I like it. This was different. The characters live in the real world (albeit in a fictional city) but know that a parallel fantasy world exists. Some visit it, some c...more
Tammy
To start - this was an audio book for me, and the reader of the book did an AMAZING job. I think she was just as crucial to my enjoyment as the story itself.
Perhaps because I tend to do a lot of light reading (young adults, or romance, fantasy etc) this writing and storytelling in this book just seemed amazing to me. When I went to post on Goodreads that I started this book I realized it was #14 (or so) in a series. This is the first book I ever read from this author and I don't think I missed o...more
George
I first read this about 8 years ago. I didn't get it when it first came out; I waited and finally bought a paperback copy. Reading it over the last week or so for the second time, I was surprised at how little of it I remembered. I don't recall what was going on in my life that I retained so little of it back then, but I know that I didn't like it nearly as well that first time as I did the second. It's a Jilly Coppercorn story, for heaven's sake! I read it a second time to set the stage for rea...more
Misstea
This is the first Charles de Lint novel I've read, and now I totally get what all the fuss is about. Not what I expected, yet what I expected and at the same time so much more.
Scott
Long. Interesting. Good prose. A bit whiny. I have this new blog, go read about it there: [http://www.bookyooky.com/?p=4]
penny
Misogyny and queerphobia, my favourite things in a book.

Also it's boring.
Ambrosia
I've quite enjoyed most of de Lint's work that I've read, but I had a hard time getting through this one. I think it's the structure, or lack thereof. Jilly is a central character in Newford's mythology, and when something awful happens to her, it makes sense that this would resonate through the town. But given that she knows everyone, and (it appears) we have to visit each and every character personally to see their reactions, things rapidly get kind of unwieldy, and for large stretches Jilly f...more
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8185168
Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins.
More about Charles de Lint...
The Blue Girl (Newford, #15) Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1) Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8) Moonheart Memory and Dream (Newford, #5)

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“People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub¬conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.” 74 likes
“There's never an easy route to the things that matter.” 41 likes
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