"I'm the onion girl," Jilly Coppercorn insists. "Pull back the layers of my life, and you won't find anything at the core. Just a broken child. A hollow girl." But just like an onion, the story of Jilly Coppercorn lures us into its mysteries; its colorful coils of insistent elaboration; its pull into its deepest, self-apparent secret.
Life is truly an act of magic in Canadian author de Lint's triumphant return to Newford, his fictitious North American city, with its fascinating blend of urban faerie and dreamworld adventures. When Jilly Coppercorn becomes a victim of a hit-and-run driver, her happy life as a popular Newford artist comes to a screeching halt. Half of her body, including her painting hand, no longer works properly, and the prospect of a long recovery, despite supportive friends, depresses her. Her dreams - the only escape she enjoys - connect her to friend Sophie's dreamland of Mabon. Another friend, of otherworldly origin, Joe Crazy Dog, calls it manido-aki, a place where magic dwells amid mythic creatures and e-landscapes far away from the World As It Is. Joe also knows that's where Jilly must heal what has broken inside herself to speed recovery of her physical body. Complications ensue when her friends discover that someone broke into the artist's apartment after the accident and destroyed her famous faerie paintings. De Lint introduces yet another intriguing character, the raunchy, wild and furious Raylene, as dark as Jilly is light, who deepens the mystery. Is she Jilly's shadow self, or a connection to a past Jilly would rather forget? This crazy-quilt fantasy moves from the outer to the inner world with amazing ease and should satisfy new and old fans of this prolific and gifted storyteller, whose ability to peel away layers of story could earn him the title "The Onion Man." (Nov. 1). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Is someone trying to murder artist Jillian Coppercorn? As she lies in her hospital bed, paralyzed from a hit-and-run accident, someone trashes her studio, destroying her renowned faerie paintings. Jilly's artwork is inspired by subconscious trips to an alternative world she calls the dreamlands, a place full of literary, mythical, and surreal landscapes and characters. There she can still walk about, able-bodied. She is surrounded by friends, most with a foot in both worlds, all ready to protect her from a stalker. In this New Age environment, Jilly perhaps possesses a special magic yet also harbors secrets from a dark past. She is told that her psychological wounds must heal before her physical ones can. Juxtaposed with this fantasy tale is a grittier story about two sisters suffering in an abusive white-trash family. One sister runs away, leaving the younger one to feel betrayed and abandoned, although both separately endure years of hardships in the seamy world of prostitution and crime. Over time, the resourceful but vengeful sister discovers magic and access to the dreamlands. The two plots collide as Jilly confronts the layers of her past and is forced to make a crucial decision. These characters and their imaginary city of Newford have been featured in many of the author's writings. Here they are developed further in an enjoyable modern-day fantasy adventure. The well-written but graphic depictions of life in the edgy world of switchblades and sleaze recommend this book to more mature fantasy fans. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Tor,512p, $27.95. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Kevin Beach SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Jilly Coppercorn, a talented painter whose works reveal the hidden life of the magical Canadian town of Newford, lies in a hospital, the victim of an apparent car accident. As her friends gather around her, Jilly's own story comes to the fore, filled with the mysteries and secrets she has hidden from herself as well as from others. Continuing his series of novels set in a modern world that borders on a dimension of myth and legend, de Lint (Moonheart) highlights the life of one of his most popular characters. A master storyteller, he blends Celtic, Native American, and other cultures into a seamless mythology that resonates with magic and truth. A good selection for most fantasy collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Another of de Lint's urban fantasy novels (Forests of the Heart, 2000, etc.) set in the imaginary city of Newford, this one centering on artist and philanthropist Jilly Coppercorn. Jilly, long in touch with her magical side, captures the beings of fairyland in her paintings; but she's able to visit fairyland only in her dreams. As the story opens, Jilly, nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver, lies half-paralyzed in a hospital bed. Despite the efforts of her friends-artists, musicians, those she's helped and befriended over the years-Jilly, reluctant to face existence as the Broken Girl, spends more and more time in fairyland. As a young girl, she fled her drunken parents and Del, her rapist elder brother, only to slip into prostitution and drug addiction. When finally she got straightened out, she went back to find the younger sister she feels she abandoned. But Raylene was long gone, raped by Del in turn until her friend Pinky gave her a switchblade and the courage to use it. Now, years later, Raylene's back, nursing her hatred for the sister she feels abandoned her, breaking into Jilly's studio to trash her paintings. Worse, Raylene also can enter the dreamlands, where she's a wolf and a ruthless hunter, feeding on the blood of unicorns. Another absorbing tale, as believable and insightful as they come, yet there's still an unsatisfying lack of weight-even the ancient spirits don't pack much of a wallop.
From the Publisher
“De Lint is a romantic; he believes in the great things, faith, hope, and charity (especially if love is included in that last), but he also believes in the power of magic-or at least the magic of fiction-to open our eyes to a larger world.” Edmonton Journal
“In de Lint's capable hands, modern fantasy becomes something other than escapism. It becomes folk song, the stuff of urban myth.” The Phoenix Gazette
Read an Excerpt
Newford, April 1999
Once upon a time…
I don't know what makes me turn. Some sixth sense, prickling the hairs at the nape of my neck, I guess. I see the headlights. They fill my world and I feel like a deer, trapped in their glare. I can't move. The car starts to swerve away from me, but it's already too late.
It's weird how everything falls into slow motion. There seems to be time to do anything and everything, and yet no time at all. I wait for my life to flash before my eyes, but all I get is those headlights bearing down on me.
There's the squeal of tires.
A rush of wind in my ears.
And then the impact.
Copyright © 2001 by Charles de Lint