Tam Lin

( 15 )

Overview

Once upon a time fairy tales were written for young and old alike. It is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original complexity, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight.

"I forbid ye maidens all that wear gold in your hair to travel to Carterhaugh, for Young Tam Lin is there..." So begins the ancient Scottish folk song Tam Lin, and the fairy tale of the same name, a tale of seduction and mortal sacrifice about the headstrong young woman ...

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Overview

Once upon a time fairy tales were written for young and old alike. It is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original complexity, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight.

"I forbid ye maidens all that wear gold in your hair to travel to Carterhaugh, for Young Tam Lin is there..." So begins the ancient Scottish folk song Tam Lin, and the fairy tale of the same name, a tale of seduction and mortal sacrifice about the headstrong young woman who defies this warning, and then must battle the Queen of Faery herself for possession of Tam Lin's body and soul. Pamela Dean has wrought a modern enchantment on this magical coming-of-age tale, setting it among the outlandish theater majors at a small Midwestern college.

Based upon the classic Scottish fairy tale about a girl's lover being stolen by the Queen of Faery, this magical, contemporary novel is set on a midwestern college campus in the late 1960s and early 1970s with outlandish theater majors. "An intriguing mix of magic, literature and academic politics."--Locus.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812544503
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/15/1992
  • Series: Fairy Tales
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.77 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    I too find myself returning year after year to this extraordinary novel. This is the type of novel that makes you proud to be a reader as well as aspire to the depth of knowledge that Janet possesses. She is a marvel of a heroine, her tenacity, intelligence, and her flaws make her an ideal female role-model. Pamela Dean is at her best, her crafting of this startlingly accurate depiction of college life (even in the year 2000), is what made me apply to Carleton College. While I ended up at another Midwestern school, I did end up a theater major, and while I still can't quite spout Shakespearean text as her characters are able to, at least I have my age as an excuse...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2007

    My all time favorite

    I was glad to see this book back in publication. I read it the first time around and almost once a year since then. Tam Lin is one of my all time favorite stories, and this version delivered! The description of college life was similar to what I remember my college experience being like. And yes, my room mate actually was a classics major.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    Tam Lin is a gorgeous, lush look at college life in the 1970's

    My best friend from college sent this to me as a gift, and it's the gift that goes on giving. I reread it annually, usually in the fall, when I remember what it was like to walk on the leaf-strewn Oregon college campus I attended from 1969 to 1973. I relive the worries about pregnancy, the concerns about contraception, the conflicts between friends, lovers, and classes, the desire to separate from my family but still involve them in my new world. Like Carleton College upon which the fictional college of Blackstock is based, my alma mater seemed isolated from the real world of anti-Vietnam War protests. We were insulated from most realities, but we weren't in an ivory tower, but a golden cocoon we were chrylasises waiting to form into beautiful butterflies. I have read Ms. Dean's other works of fiction, but it is Tam Lin which resonates with me -- and always will. Bless Pamela Dean for helping me keep my heart of flesh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    I am a reader who loves a good story, regardless of whether it i

    I am a reader who loves a good story, regardless of whether it is defined as sci-fi, fantasy, YA, or other.  Although I admit to reading this book when I was attending a small liberal arts college, it is a book that I pick up again and again.  The plot centers around a young woman that is going through so many of the things that young women do, and, in addition, you get an all-expenses-paid tour through an incredible variety of myth and literature.  This book grasped me, hard, and sent me home with a book list that I have not yet exhausted.  Oh, and did I already mention that it is on my eternal re-read list?

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Not your usual college fantasy...

    This book sat on my TBR bookcase for far too long, in part because the Thomas Canty cover strongly suggested a "Fairyland" setting (aided and abetted by the book's being part of the "The Fairy Tale Series," edited by Terri Windling), of which I had read far too much recently, much of it YA. When I finally did pick it up, I was utterly lost. While TAM LIN is indeed a retelling of the old ballad and does indeed feature young adult characters, the heart of the story is the insular world of a small liberal arts college very much like the one I attended. From the moment our heroine sets foot on campus, I recognized the landscape of an intense, crucible-like academic community. She faces all the usual problems of adjusting to her room mates, figuring out what classes to take (Literature? Classics?), how to relate to men, who she is and who she wants to become, who she loves and what she is willing to sacrifice for them. Even under normal conditions, the college years can be intense, baffling, agonizing, ecstatic and transformative. We know, of course, that Magic Is Afoot, for the cover and description clearly tell us so. Mysterious figures lurk everywhere, and even the college campus blurs into the mythic dimension at times. Dean throws in the sexual revolution made possible by the Pill, a drop-dead gorgeous lover-in-need-of-rescuing, Shakespearean actors who speak from experience, a ghost who throws books out of dorm windows, exams and courtship, plus some very nifty classes I wish I'd taken. This book is not only a keeper, but one I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who has been or has wanted to go to a small liberal arts college.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    Slow Start

    This book is overall a good read, but it will be helpful to read the ballad at the end of the book first. The book starts off slowly and then picks up several chapters into the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2006

    Tam Lin keeps you reading

    Although it is true that the supernatural aspect doesn't pick up until the end, Tam Lin was still very good. The story gave me an new understanding of the college life and it left me excited to go to college. Looking back, there was no reason for me to keep reading, but Pamela Dean somehow kept me entertained because I finished the book farely quick. I do recommend the book. Just be ready for the end because many things change quickly and it finishes with a whirlwind of activity. Also, I enjoy how the story feeds off the poem Tam Lin. If you read the poem at the end of the book and then read the book you will see the similarities (you may also be able to predict some things).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    WHAT THE?

    So I picked up this book expecting another of Pamela Dean's masterpieces seeing that I enjoyed the Secret Country series. Upon reading the first hundred pages I was lost and it continued to get worse. I have been familiarized with many classical author's works but the author uses the characters to show her superior knowledge of all literature. Not only does the book mostly contain nonsensical ramblings of poetic verses but the characters establish no real place in the heart of the readers and the story doesn't pick up until within one hundred pages of the books finish. In the end I was left completely unsatisfied and sorry that such a wonderful song could be so dreadfully portrayed. I am terribly sorry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2006

    This has been my favorite book for years!

    I am dismayed to see such poor reviews for Tam Lin. This book has been my favorite for more than a decade. This is the book that made me become a Classics major in college (a truly rewarding experience if you've an ear for languages) and cemented my desire to become a fantasy author. Its phrasing is by turns delicate and delicious. This is a book to gobble down ravenously once a year and to hide away in the cupboard to be nibbled on secretly whenever the craving for decadently intelligent wit keeps you awake at night.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2002

    Compelling premise, but doesn't deliver

    I was tempted to quit reading this novel so many times. The premise of this novel (as in all novels in the fairy tale series) is compelling, yet, the reader only gets glimpses of this fairly infrequently. I found myself at turns sympathizing with the characters and wishing to relive my own college days, and being glad that college was over and I'd never had peers like these. I did finish the book, but felt that, for such a long novel, some ends were never entirely tied up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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