Monday, April 09, 2012

Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint - Discussion Part 2

Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint

Completion Date: April 3, 2012
Reason for Reading: Buddy Read With Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.

Part 2 of our 2 Part Discussion. You can read Part 1 here.
At a popular Newford online research and library Web site called the Wordwood, a mysterious crash occurs. Everyone visiting the site at the moment of the crash vanishes from where they were sitting in front of their computers. Christy Ridding's girldfriend Saskia disappears right before his eyes, along with countless others.
To rescue their missing friends, Christy and his companions must journey into Newford's otherworld, where the Wordwood, it transpires, has a physical presence of its own...
1. This book made several references to incidents that happened in other stories. Were there any in particular that stood out to you?
One of the first things I observed about this book was how it chronologically falls between The Onion Girl and Widdershins. I have read both so I knew where they were coming from, but I also knew where they were headed. I actually liked that this book filled in a bit of the in-between time. It wasn't a Jilly story, but it still contained characters like Christy, Geordie, Holly, etc. I have always been interested in Christy because he has always been a secondary character in the other novels that I have read by de Lint. It was interesting to see the full picture of who he is as a character. It was also interesting to learn more about his Shadow because she has popped up in other books, but again as only a secondary character. The other story that came to mind was the one about Holly and the Pixies. That is a short story that we read last year and it was referenced several times throughout the book. It was interesting to see the story almost developed upon for a novel. I am not sure what came first, though. The novel could even have came before the story.

2. Suzi and Aaron were certainly the most distrusted characters as the story progressed. What were your feelings about them throughout the story and were they any different when all was said and done?
Yes, Aaron. I wanted to talk about him this week anyway. Can we say 'wow'? What a huge turnaround he went through during the course of this book. I was a bit sceptical to be honest, but then the end happened and I thought it was believable. I actually sort of expected him to do something amazing to change impressions of him. I also think he was believable and now I want a book about him and Suzi because I think there is more to look into there. I didn't get caught up in Suzi as much, though. I don't think we could really appreciate her strangeness because we didn't get enough background. I did think it was strange she was there at all, though. She sort of came out of no where, but again it all worked out in the end.

3. Charles de Lint wrote some chapters from a first person point of view and others were not. How did you feel about this back and forth style of storytelling?
It didn't really bother me at all. I actually paused for a moment and thought 'He did?'. I thought it worked really well for the type of story that he was telling. There were times when first person point of view wouldn't have worked and then there are times when first person point of view worked the best. I think he figured out the best way to tell the story.

4. As the story came to a close, which character(s) were you most drawn to? Which one(s) did you make an emotional connection with?
Well, I want to see more from Holly, Geordie, Christy, Aaran, Saskia, Christiana, and Suzi. I think they all have more stories to tell and I want to know more. Some I have read about a lot, but others I feel like we have just scratched the surface of who they. Geordie of course features prominently in Widdershins, so we know where he is headed. And, Christy and Saskia are still together, so we know that much, but they are all great characters and through them we experience even more great characters.

5. We seem to ask some version of this question whenever we discuss his works: what makes Charles de Lint's stories so special? Or to bring it down to just this particular story, what, if anything, makes Spirits in the Wires a special book?
I love Charles de Lint because he easily takes the unbelievable and makes it believable. When I visit Newford I feel like I could entirely go there and visit with Jilly or see Geordie making music on a street corner. It just seems like a real place. I want to go there each and every time I read about it. I read a lot of books each year, but there is just something about Newford and the characters that inhabit it that sticks with you long after you have closed the pages of the book that other books don't seem to have. I constantly want to read more from there, but at the same time I want to go back and revisit ones I have read before. There is just something special about this series. As to Spirits in the Wire, I was happy to visit with old friends. These names have come up or have been explored in detail, so it was nice to see a name I knew and experience a new chapter in their life. It's almost like the adventures they get into are secondary to the great characterizations that de Lint comes up with.

6. Any other thoughts you would like to share about Spirits in the Wires?
um-mm... This book is another example of why everyone should rush out and read de Lint.


  1. Even though I have not read Onion Girl I do know some of what happens in it because of reading Widdershins and I too really liked that this was an in-between novel. Which, now that you describe it that way, makes me think how perfect that is for one of the themes of this book which is the spaces in between. Those interstitial spaces.

    I was wondering how de Lint would justify the presence of Suzi because she felt like an incongruous character at first, so I did enjoy the way he actually wove her origin into the story and how it all fit together. I also like the little afterwards that we learn about how she embraced her life after the events of this story. I too was highly skeptical of Aaron throughout but was so glad that de Lint didn't take the more obvious path and make him the villain. On top of that, though, I also thought it was a mark of good storytelling that in the end there was a believable part of the old Aaron still there.

    I want to know more about all those same characters as well. Not only are there several de Lint stories that I have yet to read but given all these characters it is plain that he has many more stories he could tell.

    Well said, he does make the unbelievable believable. And I too love Newford and would be thrilled to spend time there just hanging out with these characters and experiencing the world as they do. I'd want to be open, not be a skeptic.

    Thanks again for suggesting this book, it was a terrific choice.

    1. Sorry, Carl. I am not doing so well with blogging so far this month!

      That is a very good point you make about the spaces in between. How interesting! I thought of it one way, but not in quite that way.

      Yes, Suzi just appeared from no where and stuck around, but it did make sense in the end. And, I agree, it was nice that in the end Aaron was still there.

      I know. I hope de Lint keeps writing for many many years!

      I would want to be open and not a sceptic, too. I try to not be sceptical period.

      Thanks for reading with me!


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