Monday, April 11, 2011

Short Story Monday - The Very Best of Charles de Lint

At turns whimsical, dark, and mystical, this extraordinary collection of retold fairy tales and new, modern myths redefine the boundaries of magic. Compiling favored stories suggested by the author and his fans, this delightful treasury contains the most esteemed and beloved selections that de Lint has to offer. Innovative characters in unexpected places are the key to each plot: playful Crow Girls who sneak into the homes of their sleeping neighbors; a graffiti artist who risks everything to expose a long-standing conspiracy; a half-human girl who must choose between her village and her strange birthright; and an unrepentant trickster who throws one last party to reveal a folkloric tradition. Showcasing some of the finest offerings within the realms of urban fantasy and magical realism, this essential compendium of timeless tales will charm and inspire.
Today starts weekly Short Story Monday's with Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. We are reading The Very Best of Charles de Lint together, but we are only reading about 3 stories a week. Then, we will answer questions that sort of give you a glimpse of either what the story was about or some other important aspect that we feel is worth mentioning. We are rotating weeks, too. This week I came up with three questions and we both answered them. Next week is Carl's turn. It should be a lot of fun!

Stories read this week:
'In Which We Meet Jilly Coppercorn'
'Coyote Stories'
'Laughter in the Leaves'

Questions and Answers:

1. What did you think of de Lint's choice to have 'In Which We Meet Jilly Coppercorn' as the first story in the collection?
- Jilly Coppercorn is pretty much my favourite character in de Lint's books so far. I have read novels and other short stories that include her, so it was a bit late to be introduced to her. I have to say, though, when I saw the title for the story I got a bit excited regardless of how many times I have seen her before. It turns out that this is an edited version of one of the stories included in Dreams Underfoot, but I still enjoyed reading it.

2. The story, 'Coyote Stories', is a good example of a story with a moral message. Would you agree?
- I had a clear idea in my head for this question, but I wasn't sure how to write it so it made any sort of sense. There are common themes during de Lint's stories, and as he says in the introduction to this collection he tried to include representations of all his different types of stories. This story includes the idea of Coyote, who is a character that is included in many of de Lint's stories. There is also the moral messages included in the story. de Lint's stories may be shadowed in fantasy stories, but he successfully touches on things that are very important to the world as a whole. They are also timeless issues for the most part. This one talks about the troubles that people face, particularly drinking alcohol, and how they deal with the situation.

3. What did you think of the story 'Laughter in the Leaves'?
- Then, we return to a bit more straight fantasy story. This is a story that centres around Meran. I just recently read another short story about her and this one is set later in her life. She is not a de Lint character I am overly familiar with so far, but what I have read about her has been interesting. This is the story of a struggle between one slightly magical woman and a bodach. Fun story!

So, head over to Carl's blog to see his answers! Then, tune in next week for the next three stories.


  1. Finally got my post up! I like this format, I think it will be a fun way to do it. Having sat down to answer the questions today I find myself anxious to get to the next set of stories to figure out what questions I am going to put to us next week!

    I won't comment too much on what you said here until after you get a chance to read my answers, but then I'll be back.

  2. I have a copy of one of his short stories...can't remember the title at the moment,but I'm really looking forward to when I'll crack the spine on that one!

  3. I am pretty sure I've had Charles De Lint on my "to buy" list since I first started following your blog, as I know you really enjoy his stories. But I still haven't read anything by him! Travesty.

  4. I am looking forward to seeing how this collection represents his various types of stories. I'm not sure why, but I've been very loathe to go back and read any of de Lint's really early, non-Newford stories for fear that they will be a disappointment. That may be partially because of reviews I've read of folks who have done just that after hearing much praise about de Lint and then find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.

    I'm glad we share an affection for Jilly. She is just such a great character, isn't she? I really could stand to own a collection of just short stories featuring her, even if she was just on the edges of the story.

  5. *Carl: I am looking forward to your questions!

    I have only really read his Newford books and stories. I figure that will be my priority for the moment. When I am finally caught up I might go back and read other books by him, but I enjoy the characters too much to stray for the moment. I need to figure out what I have left to read. I have a couple books left on my TBR and then will have to track down the rest.

    I LOVE Jilly. She shows up a fair amount in Dreams Underfoot, so I think I had her on my mind when I switched to this collection. It's actually better to read him close together so I can keep track of all of the characters that I might not if a lot of time has gone by.

    *Staci: I hope you enjoy whichever one it is. :)

    *Aarti: Yes, I love him! I hope you give him a read at some point. :)

  6. I know what you mean. Its been a solid year since I've read any de Lint, which is probably why I am having a hard time looking at the Table of Contents and remembering if I've read any of these already. I knew I had read the Jilly story just from seeing the title, same with Mr. Truepenny's story coming up later on in our read (I remember really liking that one). It will be fun to see if I recall others as I read them.

  7. *Carl: You have read Dreams Underfoot, haven't you? There are a few stories from there in the anthology that I noticed. I find that de Lint, more than any other author, I have a hard time keeping straight what I have and haven't read by him. I am not sure what it is...

  8. I have listened to most of it. The library disks were damaged so there are a couple of stories I either heard only part of or had to skip entirely.

  9. *Carl: ah. I bought a paperback copy and just read it recently. I liked it, though. :)


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