The Barnes & Noble Review
Tapping the Dream Tree is Charles de Lint's fourth collection of short stories set in and around Newford, a modern-day city that is saturated with magic and myth. As with all of de Lint's Newford stories, this collection can be described as contemporary myth, a combination of urban fantasy and magic realism.
In "Ten for the Devil," Staley Cross unknowingly unleashes two warring mages into the world through her blue spirit fiddle. She gets help sending them back from an ageless blues guitarist who has even outstmarted the devil. Author Christy Riddell comes face to face with a young ghost in "The Words That Remain." Also included in this collection is "Seven Wild Sisters," an enchanting novella about an adolescent girl who rescues a strange, injured creature and inadvertently gets her and her six sisters caught up in a war between feuding clans of faeries.
It really doesn't matter if you've ever read any of de Lint's Newford works before; the 18 stories included in Tapping the Dream Tree are fantastical fiction at its very best. This meaty collection will satisfy longtime Newford fans as well as newcomers to this unforgettable city and its inhabitants. Paul Goat Allen
When de Lint's magic is working, his characters shine with folksy charisma (The Onion Girl; Moonheart), but a preponderance of the 18 stories in this collection have the familiar denizens of fictional Newford wandering passively through their own tales. The better yarns have the protagonists taking an active role in earning their magical rewards, as in "Granny Weather," in which Sophie saves her boyfriend, Jeck, by using lucid dreaming, personal sacrifice and good sense. However, many of the stories unfold with little drama or conflict. "Ten for the Devil" rambles from field to barroom and back, until the devil is finally foiled by kindness; while in "Big City Littles" and "Second Chances," the right mystical word spoken by Meran Kelledy immediately fixes things. Then there's de Lint's bias against ugly men and petty thieves. Without the mitigating love of a good woman, these men are punished ("Freak," "The Witching Hour"), sometimes even after death. Pretty girls, however, can do no wrong. All the female denizens of Newford appear to have artistic gifts. Just a modicum of good manners and a little spunk earns most of these ladies rich rewards ("Masking Indian," "Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Caf ," "Seven Wild Sisters"). While some of de Lint's niftier conceits are well utilized, such as the faerie realm created by lucid dreaming, more is to be expected from this World Fantasy Award-winning author than this collection of hazy, lazy tales. (Nov. 14) FYI: "Seven Wild Sisters" was published earlier this year by Subterranean as a separate book, with illustrations by Charles Vess (Forecasts, Feb. 18). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This is a compilation of 18 stories copyrighted from 1998 to 2002 that feature characters from de Lint's fictional town of Newford, anytown USA, where magic holds sway. Some of the characters have been featured before in Newford tales (the crow girls, Jilly); some are new. Holly Rue, the bookstore owner, has some of the same problems with her computer that I do with mine, only she finds out the hard way that hers are caused by Pixel Pixies-impish pixies that trash her store and half her neighborhood before they are enchanted back into cyberspace. There is everything here from werewolf love to a ghost Mardi Gras costume. If you really want to understand de Lint's "take" on life, try "Embracing the Mystery." It seems to sum up his view of the world. Not for the average reader, but de Lint's fans will treasure every quirky character and implausible situation. Try this on your Goth kids. The mystical and magical will draw them into de Lint's worldview. Surprisingly, though, de Lint's underlying messages are positive and almost downright wholesome. KLIATT Codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Tor, 541p., Ages 15 to adult.
The 18 stories in de Lint's latest collection portray a modern world touched by magic of many kinds. Most of the stories take place in de Lint's fictional city of Newford, the setting for The Onion and other novels. "The Witching Hour," original to the anthology, tells the macabre tale of a ghost's revenge on the serial killers who murdered her, while "Seven Wild Sisters," first published in a limited edition, is a magical story of some remarkable siblings who cross the border into the fairy world. Gracefully told and filled with unforgettable and convincing characters, this collection, containing several stories published only in periodicals, belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
More urban fantasy set in and around de Lint's all-purpose North American city, Newford (The Onion Girl, 2001, etc.), but not, as the blurb seems to promise, a novel: 17 stories, one of considerable length, drawn from anthologies, ’zines, and chapbooks, 1998–2002, plus one, "The Witching Hour," original to this collection. As usual, a variety of dysfunctional characters fumble their way to new beginnings, helped or hindered by a familiar coterie of magical beings, musicians, writers, and artists--the Crow girls Zia and Maida; Jilly Coppercorn; Christy Riddell; Meran and Cerin Kellady, among others--not to mention trees (the Tree of the title; the witchy Bottle Tree; the Tree of Tales), creatures good or evil, the quick and the dead. Predatory werewolves and fallen angels scour the dark streets; ghosts and spirits lurk in abandoned tenements; tiny folk, once birds, yearn to regain their ancient forms; murderers get their comeuppance, though never in any expected fashion. Vicious pixies from the Internet emerge through a computer screen to wreak havoc in Holly Rue's secondhand bookstore and annoy its unsuspected tenant, a shy but valiant hobgoblin. In the dreamworld, the witch Granny Weather, captured by malevolent bogles, summons the aid of Sophie Etoile, in whose veins runs faerie blood. Need to learn how to make your dog capable of speech? Consult TheWordwood.com, a Web site in an imaginary city in a world reached only through dreams. Newford may be an acquired taste, but if the lack of a new novel causes any disappointment, it will surely be assuaged by the quality and variety of the material here.
“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
“What makes de Lint's particular brand of fantasy so catchy is his attention to the ordinary. Like great writers of magic realism, he writes about people in the world we know, encountering magic as part of that world.” Booklist