15 August 2007


I just finished one of the newer Charles de Lint books, Widdershins. It's a bit...convoluted, but quite enjoyable. It's touted as being the book where the two characters that everyone was certain should be together finally get together, but that's really only a small part of the story. A tenth, at best. If the book has an overall theme, it's the unity of humanity (and Cousins and Fairy and...); how people are people, whatever their shape/color/size/species.

Scanning through the reviews at Amazon, I would agree with those that say "Don't start here." This book is very complicated and convoluted, and someone not already familiar with the Newford universe would probably get lost in it. I don't agree with the ones that say, more or less, "de Lint should have focused on the romance and left out the rest." That would have been a short story, suitable for one of the short story collections. This overarching epic was much more satisfying, especially given the history of the characters involved.

Hmmm... so how can I summarize this without spoiling it for future readers... I'm reminded of a pre-WWI quote, as best I remember it: "The next big war will be over some little thing in the Balkans." It was a general or leader who said it, and those who know the history know that a relatively minor assassination in the Balkans was what set the whole thing in motion. Well, in Widdershins, it's the death of Anwatan, a deer-cousin. It's the little pebble that starts the avalanche. And yet... it really started even earlier, when a crow-cousin thought a salmon-cousin was dead and took his eyes...

Okay, not much left to say except...the death was not the beginning, but it was a beginning. Highly recommended for anyone familiar with the Newford tales. Recommended to anyone else after getting familiarized.


John said...

I have Widdershins, but it's a ways down on the reading queue.

John said...

"...not the beginning, but it was a beginning"

I thought you were discussing Charles DeLint. What's with the Robert Jordan reference? :P

Qalmlea said...

Couldn't resist. :^)

Incidentally, is "touted" pronounced to rhyme with "outed" or with "tooted"? Neither one sounds right to me. (Not that it's important, but it's been bugging me since I used the word)

John said...

I'm pretty sure it's pronounced like "outed"