Girl in Hyacinth Blue follows the path of a painting, possibly by Vermeer, from an aloof math professor backwards to the painter and the subject. EachGirl in Hyacinth Blue follows the path of a painting, possibly by Vermeer, from an aloof math professor backwards to the painter and the subject. Each owner has a different story to tell, and even a little bit of a different relationship to the painting, but they all love it and find echoes of something they feel inside themselves inside the painting. And isn't that sort of the point of truly great art?
The novel itself has the feel of a short story collection. Each chapter is about a different owner and is a complete story unto itself. The novel never feels choppy though. But--the writing. Beautiful. It lived up to the painting that I painted inside my head. I truly saw the landscapes Susan Vreeland paints with her words and I truly felt involved with each character's story.
If you love beautiful language, or you love beautiful art, read this book. It's just gorgeous. ...more
This is the ONLY time you will ever see this: I liked the movie better. I know, I know! But the book is really pretty satirical and sarcastic. SomehowThis is the ONLY time you will ever see this: I liked the movie better. I know, I know! But the book is really pretty satirical and sarcastic. Somehow they rearranged and edited when they made the movie and it turned into a timeless, funny, fairy tale/love story. I feel so ashamed for admitting that!...more
This is more of a fairy tale/quest tale. If you don't love fantasy, you probably won't like it. But I do love fantasy, so here it is. All of the requiThis is more of a fairy tale/quest tale. If you don't love fantasy, you probably won't like it. But I do love fantasy, so here it is. All of the required elements are present and accounted for. Heroic prince (or, at least, half of one)? Check. Loyal companions? Check. Do the loyal companions have mysterious backgrounds? Check. A little bit of romance? Check. Seemingly impossible tasks that require great sacrifice? Check. It's all here, but don't get the idea that it's a retelling of every other fairy tale known to man. It's well-written and different enough to make it well worth the read....more
Jane Eyre was in one of those grab-bag surprises that I got at a school book sale in about seventh grade. I actually read it then and I've loved it evJane Eyre was in one of those grab-bag surprises that I got at a school book sale in about seventh grade. I actually read it then and I've loved it ever since. Mr. Rochester is such a dark, troubled hero. And Jane is a very strong woman, especially for the time when the book was written. I don't usually like such romantic, melodramatic books, but this one is different for me for some reason. (For the record, I hate Wuthering Heights)...more
One of the first Charles de Lint novels I read. I've been hooked ever since. It's still one of my favorites. I think it's the combination of well-writOne of the first Charles de Lint novels I read. I've been hooked ever since. It's still one of my favorites. I think it's the combination of well-written fantasy, the coast of Cornwall, and all the music that makes this one so wonderful....more
This book is really the story of a little girl who falls into an abandoned mineshaft. But then the author goes into telling stories of the girl's anceThis book is really the story of a little girl who falls into an abandoned mineshaft. But then the author goes into telling stories of the girl's ancestors. The whole thing combines to make you feel like you're lucky to be who you are. What if your grandmother had never met your grandfather? That kind of thing. But it's really a big, wonderful book that sort of makes you appreciate life....more
Izzy Copley is a college student majoring in art when she first meets world-famous artist Vincent Rushkin. She feels unworthy when he chooses to startIzzy Copley is a college student majoring in art when she first meets world-famous artist Vincent Rushkin. She feels unworthy when he chooses to start teaching her his secrets.
There's a reason that he's so secretive. He has a nasty temper and he frequently lashes out at Izzy, both verbally and physically. She's so in awe of him that she lets him get away with it. He finally teaches her the real secret to his work. Each painting is like a doorway to another world, allowing the subject of the painting to take physical shape in our world and stroll around on our streets. Izzy is breathless at the thought. She's delighted when she sees figures that previously only existed in her imagination living their lives on the streets of Newford. And then Rushkin shows her exactly how monstrous he can be.
If I'm trying to be objective on this re-read, Memory and Dream is probably 4 to 4.5 stars. But for sheer nostalgia, I'm bumping it up to 5.
This was not my first de Lint book but it was definitely an early one. I was working at my little local library as a high school senior, re-shelving books, when I discovered him. The covers (all three that the library owned anyway) caught my eye so I took one home. I'm pretty sure Spiritwalk was the first. I think this was the second. And I can still see why I've been in love with de Lint's work ever since. A 16-17 year relationship. We're on the record books at this point!
I would consider this to be the first real Newford novel despite the fact that it's technically number five. The initial book, Dreams Underfoot, is a solid start but as a short story collection, it just teased me with wanting more. The next three books are darker than most of de Lint's other work and I consider them outliers. But then comes Memory and Dream.
On this ordered re-read I've undertaken, I am thoroughly enjoying re-visiting my favorite characters when they're so much younger. We've aged together. Crazy to say? Probably. But it feels true. Jilly is only on the fringe of things, as is usual for her, but I love seeing her as a struggling artist/college student painting in Professor Dapple's studio. Geordie barely shows up but he's there, providing the soundtrack in the end. There are a couple of more but my heart really belongs to Jilly and Geordie. I don't recall coming across Cosette in any other books but she reminds me of The Crow Girls and I love her for the association. I love her for herself too though.
Reminiscing aside, this truly is solid, absorbing fantasy. de Lint was one of the first urban fantasy authors and I found him more than ten years before I'd ever heard of the genre. I loved the way that he wove such magical stories into the fabric of what appears to be a generic North American city. For a country girl with no real desire to head to the big city, finding magic on the streets was remarkable. The city is where gangs are and murders and rapes and muggings happen. Yet here are these tales that have so much mystery and wonder in them. Don't get me wrong; there's plenty of darkness too. But it's easy for me to look wide-eyed at the magic and forget the rest.
The appeal of Memory & Dream is the same as it always is for me--the strong cast of characters. Within pages of starting a de Lint book, I feel like I've met new friends or I'm visiting with old ones. Isabelle is not really one of my favorite characters for a couple of reasons, but I still really like her and would like to be in her circle. She spends a little too much time dithering and re-writing events to suit herself but I do completely understand where she's coming from. When she's just being herself, she's intelligent and caring and fun and talented. I want her friends to be my friends. I want to see her paintings and catch a glimpse of her numena out of the corner of my eye. I want to know Cosette and Rosalind and Annie Nin. I want to experience the trustworthy solidness of John Sweetgrass. I want to catch a glimpse of the shy little treeskin, Paddyjack, as he creates his primitive art and music. I want to see leonine Grace in all her rampant beauty. de Lint's descriptions of these fantastic characters fires my imagination. I'm left pondering which figures from paintings I would like to see step out from their canvases. Which characters from books I might call forth and the conversations and fun we might have. That is the magic de Lint calls forth for me with this book. If you want a piece of the magic too, pick this up and give it a try. You won't view art of any kind in the same way ever again....more
In Jack the Giant Killer, the first of two novellas in this book, Jacky Rowan has just realized that her life is not going where she wants it to go. SIn Jack the Giant Killer, the first of two novellas in this book, Jacky Rowan has just realized that her life is not going where she wants it to go. She drifts along, refusing to take care of her life and just staying at home doing nothing. She decides to change her life after a nasty breakup. In a fit of pique, she goes out drinking alone. Staggering home, she sees a little man being chased by 9 men on motorcycles. She tries to help him, but the little man is killed. She runs to a nearby house to try to get help, but no one answers the door. She runs back to where the little man's body was, only to see it disappear, leaving behind only a red cap.
The next day, she almost convinces herself that the alcohol was just making her see things that weren't there, but she can't explain where she got the cap from. She puts it on and starts to see people straight out of Faerie. She eventually finds out that the Unseelie Court has been getting stronger and stronger and has actually stolen the local Laird's daughter. The Seelie Court is so weak that everyone is afraid to go in search of the poor girl. Jacky decides to just go looking herself. With a hob's stitcheries giving her invisibility and swiftness, the help of her best friend Kate, and a whole heap of a Jack's luck, Jacky sets out to set the local Faerie courts to rights.
I loved how Jack becomes Jacky in this story. Who says women can't be clever, lucky tricksters? She fills the role of Jack perfectly, coming up with ingenious solutions to problems and avoiding pitfalls in the tradition of the best fairy tales. I also loved how Jacky reached out and took control of her life. It obviously can be done, but it's usually easier to just keep going with the flow. It takes real bravery to make a real change.
What I have always loved about Charles de Lint is the way he weaves fantasy into modern life. Yeah, urban fantasy is common now, but de Lint was one of the earliest authors in the genre. Reading this for the first time years ago, I loved how urban Faerie have developed a tolerance for iron. And why wouldn't the Wild Hunt appear on Harleys? This is taking place in the 20th century after all. I just liked the idea that there is more to the world than meets the eye, and fairies are not fragile creatures who can only survive in the wilds. They would have to be adaptable.
I love Charles de Lint because of his characters. I can't say that Jacky and her friend Kate are some of my favorites, but I do love to read about their friendship. They are silly and brave and honest with each other, and neither would ever abandon the other.
The other novella, Drink Down the Moon, was not as strong for me. Jacky has gotten a little over-confident and makes some big mistakes. As a result, an evil force has wrought havoc on the wild faerie and has started causing big damage in her area of Faerie, Kinrowan. Kate is the true hero who realizes what's going on and starts acting on it.
There are two parallel plots throughout most of this story. I was most interested in Jacky and Kate's story. On a straight read, it gets a little old to read about the humans Johnny and Henk going through the same bewilderment that Jacky and Kate went through as they adapted to Faerie in Jack the Giant Killer. The books were published years apart and reprinted together later, so that's not entirely de Lint's fault.
The wild faeries that Johnny and Henk stumble onto are a little too belligerent and blood-thirsty for my taste. They have been through a lot, but it's not the humans' fault. I did like mercurial Jemi and her relationship with Johnny, but the rest were very angry and bitter.
So, 4 stars for Jack the Giant Killer and 3 stars for Drink Down the Moon. I'll round up to 4 because I love de Lint so much. His Newford books are still my favorites, but this was a very strong entry in his body of work. ...more
Everything goes so wrong for Pat for so long that I never really got over it. This is L.M. Montgomery, though, so you know everything works out in theEverything goes so wrong for Pat for so long that I never really got over it. This is L.M. Montgomery, though, so you know everything works out in the end....more
I was surprised that I loved this book. I'm drawn to novels with very strong female characters and Una ranks right up there with them. Don't think ofI was surprised that I loved this book. I'm drawn to novels with very strong female characters and Una ranks right up there with them. Don't think of it as a re-telling of Moby Dick from the wife's point of view. Una is very much her own character and the whole Moby Dick thing doesn't take up a lot of space in this book. It's more about a woman who was way ahead of her time....more