This collection of stories is the first set in Charles de Lint’s mythical city of Newford, where everyone from all segments of society can get in touch with magic if only they believe.
Kelly at The Written World and I both chose Dreams Underfoot for the Once Upon a Time V challenge – once we saw that we both intended to read it, we decided to read it together! We each asked the other three questions. Here are the three she’s asked me, and my answers:
1. What is it, in your opinion, that makes de Lint’s stories so readable for the people that pick up one of his collections?
De Lint’s stories are so immediately captivating for me because they take place in a world we could all easily imagine ourselves living in. His fantasy is the stuff of myth and feels organic, so it could well have come from our world – it fits right in with Native American creation myths, for example, and is never out of place. Because Newford is fictional, it could be right in our backyard. For me at least, I think this is a low barrier to entry; you don’t need to be acquainted with the world to hop right in, like you would with most fantasy.
2. Last year when I read The Ivory and the Horn with Carl, I said that I thought de Lint could write very believable female and male characters. Would you agree?
I would definitely agree. I find all of the characters to be very realistic and they usually manage to have character arcs no matter how little they stick around. I can’t recall any time where I felt he’d stuck one of his characters into a pigeonhole, which can be so easy to do in a short story. They’re all living, breathing people, which I think goes along with the first question because it’s another thing that makes his work very appealing.
3. At the same time that I was reading this book, I was also reading The Very Best of Charles de Lint. One of the things that both collections had me thinking about were de Lint’s ability to capture very serious issues in very readable ways. Would you agree with this based on what you have read by him so far?
Absolutely – a lot of the characters here go through really tough situations. It can be hard to read about the abuse they’re put through, but I am always reminded that this happens to real people. People die here, they beat each other up, and they even abuse themselves. In some ways I think de Lint softens the edges – the fantasy aspects can be terrifying or they can be an escape, and the supportive Newford community is certainly something that doesn’t always exist when real people need it. But overall the stories feel incredibly real.
You can read Kelly’s answers to the questions I asked over on her blog
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