Friday, April 30, 2010

The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint

I was in a Charles de Lint mood one day at the bookstore, so I bought the two lone books they had there by him. I didn't even know where they fit in the series or even if they were part of the series. I just wanted something by him to read. Then, Carl posted a list of books he wanted to try and read for Once Upon a Time IV and The Ivory and the Horn was on his list. That was one of the books I randomly bought, so we decided to read it together! And, then I was slow because I have hard time getting into short story collections even if I love them... Carl asked me five questions about the book, which I answered below, and then I asked Carl five questions which you can read the answers to on his blog. Enjoy!
Among Charles de Lint’s most beloved creations is the northern city of Newford, a place touched by deep magic—and the setting for novels likeThe Onion Girl and story collections like Dreams Underfoot. Now, with the Orb publication of The Ivory and the Horn, all four of the Newford story collections are returned to print. Here, on the streets of Newford, is the magic that hovers at the edge of everyday life.
1. Which of the stories in this collection captured your attention the most, and why?

I think for me it wasn't any one story, but more an enjoyment when a story came up that included characters that I have read about in other books by de Lint. I haven't read a lot of the series yet, but I have started to get to know the characters of Newford and I enjoy learning more about them. This collection does a really good job of adding on to the stories of major characters, while still managing to keep things short and to the point. There were many times while I was reading this collection that I had moments where something said really captured me, so I think overall all the stories in this collection had something to add.

2. Where there any stories, or characters/parts of stories, that you did like/enjoy?
Since this is the exact same question essentially as above, I am going to assume that you are really asking if there was anything I didn't like. The thing with de Lint is that he can pull pretty much anything off. I haven't really read anything by him that I didn't like. There are some characters that are more likable than others and there were a couple stories that I didn't necessarily love, but there wasn't really anything that jumped out at me as something I didn't like.

3. Charles de Lint often mixes in serious subject matter: abuse, neglect, poverty, etc in with the mythic elements of his stories. What affect does this have on you as a reader?
I think he does it really well. He writes stories about characters that are flawed, but still compelling. I think their problems are what makes the characters and stories so interesting, to be honest. I also think if your life was perfect you wouldn't necessarily go looking for the alternate world that de Lint has created in these stories, so that would make for dull reading.

4. I'm not sure if you have read enough of de Lint's work to have formed an opinion, but do you have a favorite character?
There are lots of characters that I really like, but so far I would say Jilly. She is such a fun and compelling character, but it is a bit unfair to say her simply because I have read more with her as a main character than some of the others. The stories in this collection that included her were some of my favourite. I imagine even if I have read all the books in the series I would say her, but that could change.

5. What is it, in your opinion, that makes Charles de Lint's stories what they are?
I think it is partly what I said above, where the flawed characters in his stories have reasons to look for escape and thus go to these other worlds in their dreams. I think a lot of people can relate to it, too, because no ones life is perfect and we are always looking for a little bit of escape when things get too bad. These stories may go a bit more magically than humans are necessarily capable of, but just because I can't really visit the world that de Lint creates doesn't mean I don't want to. Actually, I think the wish to experience what the characters in this series, and these stories, experience is probably one of the main reasons I like de Lint's books so much.


  1. You're right; if the characters' lives were perfect these stories would be a lot more dull and a lot less believable. I haven't read this collection yet, but I've been told that it's where I should start Newford properly (my introduction was The Onion Girl, but without any background it didn't quite work for me).

  2. Yay!!! We did it! We managed to actually get a partner read in (I screwed it up last time, for those not in the know).

    I really enjoyed the book and, not surprisingly, have a hankering for more de Lint!!!

    Thanks so much for doing this with me, look forward to doing it again.

  3. I now really know that I must read a de Lint story as I have not read one yet. Your answers and Carl's have left me very curious and intrigued. I am glad you guys did these posts.

  4. I have a book of short stories by de Lint upstairs in my book room...I loved the cover so much that I had to have it! Now I really must get to reading it!

  5. I love Charles de Lint's books! I love the feeling of sitting down with any one of them, for a reread or a first-time read - I know I'll be spending some time in a place and with characters that have become very real to me over the years.

  6. Keep up the good work! I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.

  7. I love what I have read of De Lint and have an unread copy of this waiting for me to get to. I love his mix of fantasy and reality and the negative parts like abuse and neglect just fit right in to that mix.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I am so sorry, but I turned anonymous commenting off. I have had it from the very beginning, but that is how the spam is getting by my spam filter at the moment. If it is a big deal I will turn it back on and moderate all comments. I also changed moderation from older than 14 days to older than 7.