Thursday, June 21, 2007

Greenmantle, by Charles de Lint

Up until this point, I'd read only one of de Lint's books (Forests of the Heart), even though I've been collecting what titles I can find at used book stores. Now that I've finished, I'm not sure what to do first: kick myself for not reading this (and the rest) sooner, or vow a one-de Lint-per-month-read-until-I'm-out-of-material promise to the Universe (in a sacred circle, natch *wink*). So, the point... not only is the book good, it was good for me.

*takes hit off imaginary cigarette*

I was reading someone else's review (posted on, and they'd mentioned someone else's suggestion that de Lint's stories really don't belong in the fantasy genre because of the urban setting.


I must certainly disagree with this (unfortunately undocumented--by me) assertion. Was that person trying to say that the Fae, the Gods, etc. don't exist everywhere? That "man" is so strong (or so willfully clueless) that they've been corralled into our shrinking open spaces? I posit that this belief is wrong, IMHO.

The protagonists of this story are each (and separately) taking advantage of a "do-over" from the universe. Their projects meld as two subplots collide: Diety/Nature reaches out to the mundanes in order to live, and Greed/False Honor pursues and torments said mundanes in order to add a few notches to their Boom-Stick cases. This conflict reminded me of discussions I've had regarding "power within" versus "power over." Big difference in dynamic, big difference in outcome.

Another thread in the story (that I found to be inspirational)--equally important to the one described above--was that of Ali's developing views of the world in regards to spirituality. While Ali's mother and the neighbor/potential love interest struggle with those who would take their resources (and lives), Ali wrestles with two interpretations of Diety that would have her mind and soul.

Now isn't all this scads more interesting than stories about blowing things up (actually, this story has some of that), racking up debt with new purses and shoes, or vampire hunters? [wait, I like that last one] There's much, much more depth to the story than what I've written here; but it's the sort of tale that speaks so personally to the (listening) reader, I can't do it justice. Suffice to say, I'll be reading many more de Lint books.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I've been doing the "one de Lint a month" routine as I too seem to have collected every de Lint that I come across. Greenmantle was the first of his I read and my favorite :)