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Tapping the Dream Tree Hardcover – November 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: Newford
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312874014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312874018
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tapping the Dream Tree collects 18 stories by bestselling contemporary fantasy master Charles de Lint. One story, "The Witching Hour," is original to this volume, with a few others taken from limited-edition chapbooks; the remaining tales have been drawn from an impressive diversity of magazines and anthologies. The stories are set in and around de Lint's mythic, haunted American city of Newford, and fans will recognize several characters from de Lint's popular series.

The powerful story "Ten for The Devil" is a superb choice for an opener: it showcases de Lint's literary strengths and treats of his recurring themes of magic, music, creativity, and human worth. Musician Staley Cross's grandmother has always warned her to be careful when she plays her blue fiddle. But Staley never quite believed that her music could rouse dangerous magic... until one night, playing in a faraway field, she discovers the Devil doesn't only go down to Georgia. First published before the filming of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, "Ten for the Devil" draws upon the same crossroads myth as does the movie, but takes a very different road as it follows Staley's search for her only hope of soul survival: a mysterious bluesman known as Robert. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

When de Lint's magic is working, his characters shine with folksy charisma (The Onion Girl; Moonheart), but a preponderance of the 18 stories in this collection have the familiar denizens of fictional Newford wandering passively through their own tales. The better yarns have the protagonists taking an active role in earning their magical rewards, as in "Granny Weather," in which Sophie saves her boyfriend, Jeck, by using lucid dreaming, personal sacrifice and good sense. However, many of the stories unfold with little drama or conflict. "Ten for the Devil" rambles from field to barroom and back, until the devil is finally foiled by kindness; while in "Big City Littles" and "Second Chances," the right mystical word spoken by Meran Kelledy immediately fixes things. Then there's de Lint's bias against ugly men and petty thieves. Without the mitigating love of a good woman, these men are punished ("Freak," "The Witching Hour"), sometimes even after death. Pretty girls, however, can do no wrong. All the female denizens of Newford appear to have artistic gifts. Just a modicum of good manners and a little spunk earns most of these ladies rich rewards ("Masking Indian," "Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Caf‚," "Seven Wild Sisters"). While some of de Lint's niftier conceits are well utilized, such as the faerie realm created by lucid dreaming, more is to be expected from this World Fantasy Award-winning author than this collection of hazy, lazy tales.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Charles de Lint and his wife, the artist MaryAnn Harris, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His evocative novels, including Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, and The Onion Girl, have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction

Customer Reviews

And this one to your permanent library.
Gary Hunt
There is so much history for these characters and yet there is no attempt to give the reader much (if any) explanation of it.
Chris B
They are a must-read for anyone interested in reading or writing good short fiction.
Ann Deden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cybele A. Baker VINE VOICE on April 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
All of these stories are from previous rare Chap books and other small press printings from many many years of Mr. De Lint's body of work.
So some of the stories aren't as well told because well they were written 10-15 years ago.....also this clearly states it is full of SHORT stories..short stories can't go into the kind of detail several folks seem to be demanding from De Lint. If you want more details of some of these characters by the OTHER anthologies of Newford as well as the full length novels. Don't whine and complain because you feel like you got dropped into the middle when the books clearly says it is MORE tales from Newford..not ALL the tales from Newford....sigh.
Beautiful collection lovely lyrical quality and and engaging characters. I have only a few De lints I have not enjoyed and this certianly not one of them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JoT on February 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading the reviews posted here I realize that I have missed out on quite a lot of excellent reading material over the years. The only three de Lint books I have ever come into contact with are The Onion Girl, Tapping the Dream Tree, and Spirits in the Wires. Some die-hard fans will therefore, I am sure, immediately discount my disagreement with the seemingly negative opinion of this book shown by the majority of the reviewers here. In particular, I strongly disagree with the review that states, "This one is for the fans... only" because this is the first De Lint book I ever read.

I will freely admit that I am a sucker for a good short story. I must also say that, if the first de Lint I had read was a continuous novel, I might not have gone around town recommending it to everyone I knew, as I did with Tapping the Dream Tree. This might not be as deep or as emotional or as detailed as some of de Lint's other work, but, from my reading of the stories, de Lint writes into these stories as much detail and emotional description as a short story can possibly contain.

As a short-story writer, one of the most difficult things to do well is to leave out parts that you could write in. If you choose well, these left out pieces add to your characters and stories more effectively than their inclusion. de Lint is excellent in this respect. Some of these characters are so well written that you want to step into their world and find out what they are like on a normal day and if they've ever had a normal day and what they like in their coffee or if they like coffee at all. They are characters that have deep wells of untouchably fascinating personality.

In summary... I loved this book. I loved these characters. This is the first De Lint book I ever read.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By a discerning fan on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Charles de Lint and have been breathlessly awaiting the fourth collection of his Newford-based stories, which I then read pretty much in one evening.
Though none of the stories were bad, there was something about them that dissatisfied and I couldn't quite put my finger on it ... the above Publishers Weekly review clarified it for me. These stories feel rather lazy and passive compared to the previous three collections. They feel very self-referential, several of them begin by referring to and summing up some previous story from the character's "life" before moving into a new tale that isn't nearly as alive and interesting as the original appearance of the character had been.
I was also disappointed that the last quarter of the book was just a reprint of "Seven Wild Sisters," which was published as its own independent book earlier this year.
Perhaps Newford is becoming tired as a story device; I hate to say it, because I love de Lint's Newford and I always enjoy visiting its streets. But with a few exceptions, these stories just weren't as alive as the previous ones have been.
I'll still follow de Lint wherever he takes me, though. A fan's a fan. :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Caroll on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Tapping the Dream Tree" is a weighty collection of Newford stories by Charles De Lint, revisiting some of his favoriate characters such as Jilly, Sophie and the Crow Girls. It does include a novelette --'Seven Wild Sisters'. For those of us who have had to search for vanished magazine copies of the stories, this anthology is a wonderful find. His characters are real, in some universe, and it's great to know more about them and their lives. Any De Lint reader needs to have this volume in their collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CLB on November 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was thrilled to see that de Lint has published another Newford collection--they're my favorite of all his works. With the inclusion of stories like "Freak" and "The Witching Hour", the author seems to be dipping into the horror/ghost story genre a bit more these days. The reader gets some more background on some Newford characters that have only played bit parts or been alluded to in the past, such as Holly Rue and Paddy Riddell (the brother of Geordie and Christy). This is part of what I enjoy about his work: even minor characters have their own history and substance.
Granted, some of the stories are reprints; however, it's much less expensive to buy them in this collected format than it is to purchase all the chapbooks, magazines, etc. where the stories originally appeared.
I do agree that the collection as whole seems to lack that special spark that "Dreams Underfoot" and "The Ivory and the Horn" so vividly conveyed. The stories work well individually, but as a whole they don't fit together quite as nicely. I know that this is a picky issue, but I'm not a big fan of the cover art for this title; too cartoony for my taste.
Final verdict: hardcore de Lint fans and those who want a little more spookiness in their fantasy stories will enjoy this one.
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