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Walking in circles
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I've been on hiatus in the land of slow Internet connections and have much to post, including the reason for taking a break. Here's the first little bit.

Books - Widdershins by Charles de Lint

For weeks, every time I had a meal at the bookstore I’d see the card advertising the book Widdershins by Charles de Lint. The drawing on the book cover was intriguing – a pair of people levitating around the steeple of what looked like a church, although on closer inspection, the spire is twisted – along with the title itself (meaning to walk counterclockwise in a circle, specifically to call up fairies).

Fantasy books and I have never clicked, never developed a meaningful relationship of any kind, and I might even have been known to call them “that fantasy crap.” I tried to read the fantasy classics, including that one about the guy who was a leper, excuse me, had Hansen’s disease, but they all seemed way too Dungeons-and-Dragons for me. I’ve loved science fiction since I read some of Ray Bradbury’s ethereal stories as a kid, but other than Tolkien, I haven’t ever finished a fantasy novel.

Then along came Widdershins. It’s labeled as “urban fantasy” on the cover and in several reviews, although it didn’t have any urban content at all. The world was recognizable, it was just populated by some additional sentient species in addition to homo sapiens. And there was a parallel, or perpendicular, world into which the characters could slip. And there were capabilities exhibited that would probably confound the laws of physics. But other than that, it could have been set here in Pennsylvania.

The story – good vs. evil with a romantic sub-plot thrown in – was captivating, probably due to the author’s good use of telling each chapter from a different character’s perspective. I particularly liked the fairy queen who dressed as a punk skateboarder (which brought to mind images of that trio of buzzing skateboard guys from the movie Dogma). The portions of the story that dealt with the old spirits of this country reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Two minor complaints – the book was overly long and could have used another edit to winnow out some of the more draggingly slow portions, and one of the two major characters was incredibly irritating and whiny. She’s apparently appeared in a number of de Lint’s other books, so perhaps she just picked up this “I am the Broken Girl” whine that she sighs way too frequently in this story. She’s had a tough life which has become harder yet due to the results of an accident, but the other characters point to her as someone who never complains about her situation, which is patently untrue – she sighs and derides herself and is generally depressed throughout the entire story. I was a little sorry the story couldn’t be resolved without rescuing her and I look forward to her demise in a future plotline. After all, evil has to win some of the time.

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