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The Onion Girl Paperback – August 3, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765303817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765303813
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Life is truly an act of magic in Canadian author de Lint's triumphant return to Newford, his fictitious North American city, with its fascinating blend of urban faerie and dreamworld adventures. When Jilly Coppercorn becomes a victim of a hit-and-run driver, her happy life as a popular Newford artist comes to a screeching halt. Half of her body, including her painting hand, no longer works properly, and the prospect of a long recovery, despite supportive friends, depresses her. Her dreams - the only escape she enjoys - connect her to friend Sophie's dreamland of Mabon. Another friend, of otherworldly origin, Joe Crazy Dog, calls it manido-aki, a place where magic dwells amid mythic creatures and e-landscapes far away from the World As It Is. Joe also knows that's where Jilly must heal what has broken inside herself to speed recovery of her physical body. Complications ensue when her friends discover that someone broke into the artist's apartment after the accident and destroyed her famous faerie paintings. De Lint introduces yet another intriguing character, the raunchy, wild and furious Raylene, as dark as Jilly is light, who deepens the mystery. Is she Jilly's shadow self, or a connection to a past Jilly would rather forget? This crazy-quilt fantasy moves from the outer to the inner world with amazing ease and should satisfy new and old fans of this prolific and gifted storyteller, whose ability to peel away layers of story could earn him the title "The Onion Man." (Nov. 1).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jilly Coppercorn, a talented painter whose works reveal the hidden life of the magical Canadian town of Newford, lies in a hospital, the victim of an apparent car accident. As her friends gather around her, Jilly's own story comes to the fore, filled with the mysteries and secrets she has hidden from herself as well as from others. Continuing his series of novels set in a modern world that borders on a dimension of myth and legend, de Lint (Moonheart) highlights the life of one of his most popular characters. A master storyteller, he blends Celtic, Native American, and other cultures into a seamless mythology that resonates with magic and truth. A good selection for most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Eckling on December 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After I finished "The Onion Girl" last night, I sat there feeling vaguely dissatisfied and tried to figure out why. I think it all comes down to what some other reviewers have pointed out: we've seen this before - numerous times and handled better than this.
DeLint's earlier books had a sense of wonder and delicacy both in his writing and in his portrayals of characters and Dreamlands/Otherlands. As you read, it felt as if the magical place he was talking about was not only real but that it could be fragile as well; it *was* real but only as long as you believed and DeLint was very good at making us believe. With this book, however, I didn't feel drawn in - more like bludgeoned. It reads along the lines of "You will believe in Newford and in the Dreamlands because I say so."
Characters in this book are not there so much to show as to tell which tends to rob the book of much of its possible emotion. We're told how wonderful Jilly is, we're told how much her friends are frightened for her or pulling for her to get better, but we're never shown it. We're surrounded by all these people who have supposedly pulled themselves up by their bootstraps or dealt with hard things in life but everyone reads the same regardless of their prior experiences. Wendy, positioned as a character with a normal (read: non-abusive) childhood, comes across no differently than Jilly or Sophie. We're told she has a hard time relating to the childhood Jilly experienced but it comes across like a line in a script read by an extremely poor actress. There is nothing to back up what we're being told to feel. Everyone is the same flat character with different names.
Raylene's "transformation" rings hollow. Her motivation in this story has essentially been payback.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "danamages" on January 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In the Onion Girl, De Lint fans will find his usual superb writing and his interesting take on mythologies and urban fantasies; however, as a De Lint fan, be prepared to have the veil removed regarding the always cheerful, favorite character, Jilly.
New readers for De Lint are better off starting with books like Moonheart or The Little Country--they are a little more lighthearted and more descriptive of both De Lint's urban Newford and his spirit world. The Onion Girl is darker and relies more on past Newford characters and their experiences 'crossing over' into fantasy as well as their experiences with the spirits in our world.
As a longtime De Lint fan, this book is as enjoyable as always.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jason E. Lundberg on November 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Here is another fantastic novel by the master of the urban fantasy. This one is about Jilly Coppercorn, a painter who seems to peek her head in on most of de Lint's stories, whether they are short stories or novels. De Lint sets a majority of his tales in the North American city of Newford, and whether Jilly has a small or large part in the story, she is at Newford's heart; all the characters seem to have been affected by Jilly's kindness, charm and buoyant good nature. Jilly is the Onion Girl, however, and we see a much darker part of her than ever imagined before. This book is about the past, and how it can come snapping back to us, teeth blazing, when we least expect. This is one of those Chihuahua-smooshing burglar-stunning kinds of books, but it reads as fast as a 250 page-sized version. As usual, there is magic, and creatures far older than you or I, who were old when the world was created. But the thing I admire the most about de Lint's fiction, and this book is no different, are his characters. They are the ones who help out at soup kitchens and take in stray cats and bring people in off the street. These are people who have seen hard times themselves and go out of their way to help others. It is the simple fact that these people are good, in the purest sense of the word. And at the end of the novel, I truly wished Jilly was a real person that I could phone up and tell exactly how much I admire and love.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Howard on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a fan of Charles de Lint and can't imagine actively disliking anything he writes, but I have to admit that this is not my favorite de Lint novel. Jilly Coppercorn has long been one of my favorite de Lint characters, but in The Onion Girl, de Lint tells me more than I wanted to know about Jilly. The magical veil is somehow ripped away, and I am face-to-face with a character I maybe don't like as much as I thought I did.
And, speaking of characters, there is an almost dizzying array of them and there were times when I had trouble keeping score. I didn't feel as though I got to know any of them in this novel -- there simply wasn't enough space for anyone in this pantheon to fully develop. I think that the lack of character development contributed to a sense of disbelief and some real confusion about the actions of some of the characters, especially Wendy and Raylene.
In spite of all of this, I did enjoy the book and I remain an avid fan of Charles de Lint, all of his people - fairie and otherwise -- and all of his worlds!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By a discerning fan on October 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
CDL fans will particularly like this, it's like a convention of his Newford characters. This book concentrates mostly on Jilly, one of the main characters of De Lint's Newford stories, and her attempts to reconcile with her traumatic childhood and seedy past in the wake of an accident that leaves her in a hospital bed. De Lint does a particularly good job at merging the magical and the mundane in this book. The story shifts back and forth between the "real world" and the realm of dreams and magic as Jilly attempts to escape her broken body by going to another world in her dreams, only to discover that her past follows her there, too.
A first time reader can enjoy the story on its own merits, but fans will get even more out of it by having read the background stories on the other Newfordites that appear. I enjoyed the opportunity, also, of getting to know one of my favorite characters better.
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