Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles de Lint - A Once Upon a Time Group Read - Week 1

Good morning! Once again Carl and I are reading a Charles de Lint book together, but for a fun change Susan has decided to join in, too. We will be posting on Tuesdays for the next little while about the book Tapping the Dream Tree. It is a short story collection that we have broken up into 3 stories a week and will be taking turns coming up with questions and then answering them. This first week I came up with some questions and will be answering them below. Be sure to visit Carl and Susan's blog to see their answers. And, if you have the book and want to join in let us know. It is not too late to catch-up.

1. One of the common themes in de Lint’s books is the use of music. What did you think of the musical elements of in ‘Ten for the Devil’? Did it make a believable story?
I think that de Lint does a wonderful job of using music in his books. It has played at least some role in everything I have read by him before and it is obvious that music is an important thing to him. It means that the music parts of the book really come alive when you read about them. And, they are different. There are conventional musicians, but there are also moments where the music takes on a life of its own. This story is one such example. Carl and I recently met Robert Lonnie in Spirits in the Wires. As a result I knew what to expect from him, but technically Spirits in the Wires hadn't happened yet chronologically. This was an introduction to Lonnie if you were reading in order. Music is a very important part of Lonnie's character. It is addressed in greater detail in the novel, but this book hints at the importance. What the story does centre around is Staley, a woman that is very gifted in her music, but was unaware of her real powers. I thought the connection between her music and the 'other' world was a really nice idea. It is something that has happened before with de Lint and I really think he writes it in such a way that it is believable.

2. Once again ‘Wingless Angels’ uses music as, what turns out to be, a major plot device. What did you think of the way music was used? What were your thoughts on a canister of film turning out to predict the future? Were you sceptical of the story at all?
I wasn't really sure what to make of this story. On the one hand it was rather interesting; but on the other hand I thought it was kind of bizarre. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it for a while, but I think when it ended I was a huge fan. Actually, I thought ending was really great. I think my initial problem was how everything was so orchestrated. It didn't entirely seem believable to me. I also have never really been sure about strange plot elements about predicting the future. I wasn't sure if it was going to work for me. So, I guess I had my sceptical moments. But, as always, de Lint comes through. The story grew on me and by the end I was very happy with it. I think part of my initial problem is one of the main characters in the story is called Christiana. That is the name of another major Newford character, so I kept expecting it to be her and it wasn't. It confused me.

3. The third story, ‘The Words That Remain’, was a bit of a ghost story, but it also used ideas that we can probably relate to ourselves at one time or another. What did you think of how de Lint chose to address this?
Now, this story, this story was good. This is a really creative look at conforming and changing yourself to suit someone else. I feel like if I say too much about it, though, it will ruin the story. I would rather other people go out and and read it. I was happy to see a Christy story. After being introduced to him more in Spirits in the Wires I am even more interested to see more from him. I think of all the talents that the characters have in these books, his being a writer is the one I am able to relate to more. I am a reader, after all. I don't really paint and my musical skills are limited. So, while I enjoy those other characters, I like that Christy is the character that captures everything.

Now, I open it up to you readers. Have you read this collection? Feel free to chime in. And, what are your favourite Charles de Lint books? Carl and I will likely read another one together at some point in the future, so recommendations are always welcome.


  1. I loved having this moment with Robert Lonnie so soon after reading about him in Spirits in the Wires. We got a bit more of his origin story here, just a taste, but it was good.

    We've talked about this before, but it bears repeating: Charles de Lint's inclusion of music and art in his stories (heck, his stories are infused with them) is something that gives them a layering that makes them special, unlike so many other stories that fit within the same genre. You can practically hear the music when you read his stories.

    The second was a story that might have benefited from a little more set up. Given its short length he did get right to the heart of the matter and that might have hurt it a little, made it a little more of a one-note story as opposed to the rich stories he usually tells. I too enjoyed it, but it is far from my favorite. It reminded me too much of Dr. Who which kind of took me out of the story a little bit, which isn't de Lint's fault considering this was written way before the angel statue storylines in Dr. Who.

    I enjoyed how Mary told Christy that he was speaking like a writer. It is funny because I rarely speak the way that I write and yet sometimes, when I have that "muse" come upon me, when I feel particularly inspired, I find myself talking closer to the way I write. Christy is a good character for readers to identify with, I think. He is very grounded and is one of de Lint's characters that can act as a sort of de facto guide to Newford.

    Glad we picked this one, the first three stories are promising.

  2. I really need to get around to reading something by de Lint one of these days! (I keep saying that.)

    1. I was thinking the same thing. I have been wanting to reading something by him for the last couple of years.:)

  3. As I told Carl, you guys are really making me want to go rummage through the boxes to see if I can find Dreams Underfoot!

  4. I've finally started, after years of meaning to, Dreams Underfoot with this year's OUaT in mind. And I love it. I've added the whole series of Newford books to my TBR list now. And though I'm really trying to limit myself to a story every day (or couple of days), once I read one, I find it hard to set aside the volume: there's something addictive about them!


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.