GaryandRuth's Reviews > Dreams Underfoot

Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
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May 21, 11

bookshelves: fey, fiction
Read in February, 2011

The first story is Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair. This brings many threads that I only half-remembered from The Onion Girl back to the surface again. Of course, for the newcomer to Newford it must do the reverse. It starts off many threads that develop into fascinating stories in their own right. I begin to seen how easily CDL slips between the worlds in the story and I have to stop frequently amd catch myself as I peer through the shadows and wonder which world I'm walking in at the moment. The realisation of the nature of Uncle Dobbin's shop and the conclusion to the story brought tears to my eyes. So far, there seems to be passage or one quote from each story I've read that teaches a valuable lesson about the Otherworld, magic or the nature of the Fae. In this story, it's a passage but once you've read it, the words "Stop fighting it! Stop trying so hard!" will make so much sense.

The Stone Drum is very Howard-esque, if there is such a term! It reminded me much of the underworlds of Howard or more recently, Scott Sigler but steers strongly away from the heroic or the gruesome that characterises each of those latter writers. Instead, CDL makes the genre uniquely his own by exploring yet another avenue of Belief and the Fae. He also introduces characters that are going to crop up again, most notably Jilly Coppercorn, the heroine of The Onion Girl that started me off. Again, he interweaves the worlds into what an unsuspecting reader would call merely fantasy, but I'm beginning to realise originate from the same sort of perception that Jilly uses to create her paintings. In fact, at one point, Jilly says: There was an otherworldly air about the two of them that went beyond the glamour that seemed to always gather around people who become successful in their creative endeavours. I think Charles is saying something that is somewhat biographical here - he has to have more that a passing acquaintance with the Magic and the Otherworld to write about it sop successfully, and to have 'more than the glamour' around him. He's definitely a man I would like to chat to over a cup of tea!

The next story, Timeskip, is a fairly straight-forward ghost-story. I was landed like a fish by the tragedy of the tale - credit to the author :) There is little in here of the Otherworld etc. but as a light read and perhaps a small insight it is well worth reading. The hidden teaching of the tale comes in Jilly's words - watch out for that!

Freewheeling is an amusing story involving Jilly and a street-kid, Zinc, who has a habit of cutting Bicycles free from their chains. This story may have just proved my theory wrong because I could see no deeper meaning to this tale, no hidden message - just an amazing and slightly tragic tale in which we learn a little bit more about Jilly and the mystery that surrounds her. It's also possible that I just missed it, of course :)

That Explains Poland is a story set in a broken down part of the City and is set in the first person and tells the story of LaDonna and her two friends Lori and Ruth trying to prove or disprove a Newspaper story. I can't say much more other than the fact that the reference to Poland is explained as a joke at the very beginning is some kind of warning that there is a serious plot-twist imminent and although I found the story somewhat obvious, I nevertheless enjoyed the characterisation of LaDonna. Not the best in the book so far.

The next story, Romano Drom, ... I've run out of impetus describing each story as it was a fair while ago that I finished the book. Looking back at it, the details have faded apart from some stunning images that are now well and truly lodged in my imagination!! An amazing book that creates as many folk-tales as the Brothers Grimm but set in a world of Urban Faerie or Fantasy.

I will come back and finish the impressions of each story later - this book deserves that.
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Reading Progress

12/22/2010 "Introduction is under my belt and I now realise that this is a collection of short stories, so I'm waiting for the opportunity to make a start on the first."
12/29/2010
5.0% "Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair, The Stone Drum."
12/29/2010
5.0% "Timeskip"
12/29/2010
7.0% "Timeskip"
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