Tam Lin

Tam Lin


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Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

In the ancient Scottish ballad "Tam Lin," headstrong Janet defies Tam Lin to walk in her own land of Carterhaugh . . . and then must battle the Queen of Faery for possession of her lover’s body and soul. In this version of "Tam Lin," masterfully crafted by Pamela Dean, Janet is a college student, "Carterhaugh" is Carter Hall at the university where her father teaches, and Tam Lin is a boy named Thomas Lane. Set against the backdrop of the early 1970s, imbued with wit, poetry, romance, and magic, Tam Lin has become a cult classic—and once you begin reading, you’ll know why. This reissue features an updated introduction by the book’s original editor, the acclaimed Terri Windling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142406526
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/03/2006
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 390,737
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Pamela Dean is an American fantasy author whose most notable book is Tam Lin, based on the Child Ballad of the same name, in which the Scottish fairy story is set on a midwestern college campus loosely based on her alma mater, Carleton College in Minnesota. She was a member of the writing group The Scribblies, and was a contributor to the Liavek shared-world anthologies. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

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Tam Lin 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
rampaginglibrarian on LibraryThing 11 days ago
This is a really cool book set on a college campus among Theatre students :) i just love (good) fairy tale retellings
kcollett on LibraryThing 11 days ago
Students at Blackstock College (a thinly veiled Carleton) in Minnesota in the 1970s relive the Tam Lin legend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DeborahJRoss More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.