Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Onion Girl

Charles DeLint
Fiction, Fantasy

This is not a story to be taken lightly. Jilly Coppercorn, a featured character in DeLint's many Newford stories, is forced to deal with her past after an accident leaves her bed-bound, and it is not a past to be taken lightly. While the main horror of her past has been dealt with before - one chapter is a previously published short story dealing with her childhood abuse at the hands of her older brother - it becomes obvious that it wasn't dealt with but merely locked away. And now someone from her past is looking for her.

DeLint's brand of urban fantasy features both the good and bad of Faerie. This one has a dreamland that is heavily influenced by Native American mythology, with crow girls and cowboys with the heads of coyotes or wolves. However, you would not be surprised to see the European mythos represented as well - the blend seems natural. Jilly tries to escape into this dreamland as a relief from her broken body, but it soon becomes apparent that she cannot escape the hate of her pursuer. Eventually she will have to deal with it all - her past, her nemesis, and even the fact that she may never be able to paint again.

This book is good as an addition to DeLint's world; I would not recommend taking it by itself. It is not as powerful as his other works, but taken in conjuction it fill quite a few gaps. A number of the complaints I have seen about this book center on its laundry list of characters - your best bet with DeLint is to start with his early Newford works and read chronologically. (Dreams Underfoot is the first collection of short stories centered around Newford, and the first to introduce Jilly.)


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