Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: The Ivory and the Horn

Charles De Lint’s second collection of short fiction set in Newford felt much more interesting to my than Dreams Underfoot (which I also quite liked), with the first collection I was pretty enamoured of how he was building this fascinating city setting and how he would cross multiple characters over throughout stories, switching timelines, perspectives, etc., but with The Ivory and the Horn, although there is a lot of that too, the stories move into some pretty dark territory, and allow the reader to read about some deep real world issues (such as falling in love with a good friend, the effectiveness of social work, dealing with a friend’s depression), and uses fantasy elements to draw the reader in.

For me, stories like “Dead Man’s Shoes”, a vengeance-based ghost story worked great as effective horror, but others like “The Wishing Well” showed exactly how insidious a crisis can be and how easily people might ignore it. The collection moves easily from issues involving homelessness to urban fantasy (my favourite of the latter is “Mr. Truepenney’s Book Emporium and Gallery” which asks how responsible we are for our dreams.

A great collection, and definitely had me looking forward to reading my next de Lint book.

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