Charles de Lint's Trader (1997) was, for me, a pretty great way to use fantasy elements to tell a story about starting over. The novel focuses on a luthier (stringed instrument creator) named Max Trader who wakes up one day inhabiting someone else's body. The story follows Max as he tries to come to terms with what has happened, attempts to put things back the way they were and tries to stop the man who seems to be ruining his old lie.
What I really loved about the book was how it showed the interconnections between all the folk in Max and Johnny's (the other half of the body swap) lives, and how this change had long lasting effects in all sorts of places.
De Lint mainstay Jilly Coppercorn appears in the novel in a smaller role, as do a few other characters from his previous novels and stories, but Trader largely focuses on Max, Johnny, two young women, a runaway and her mother, and deftly moves back and forth between all of these characters to tell an intruding tale of secret lives, starting over and the power of dreams and will.
In the end, much of the novel follows themes of how people deal with change that is beyond their control, asking whether you have the inner strength and drive to flow with change or stay forever focused on what you feel you are owed.
Another great read.
1 month ago