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Moonlight & Vines (Newford) Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine a city--cold, hard, concrete jungle on the surface, but, down that dark alley or disused cemetery, magic has begun to unravel the gray fabric of realism. Charles de Lint succumbs to his fascination with the outsider in all of us, and writes of lonesome goth kids, newbie lesbians, strippers, Gypsies, angels of death and mercy, and even vampires and ghosts in a style that is remarkably refreshing after so much sword-and-bodice formula fantasy. Moonlight and Vines is a medley of fairy tales for the alternative crowd, with most of his city grrrls and boys sporting combat boots and wounded souls. De Lint crafts his stories with soft edges but indelible images:
I can feel a foreign vibe in my apartment, a quivering in the air from Teresa having been there.... My furniture, the posters and prints on my walls, my knickknacks, all seemed subtly changed, a little stiff from the awareness of her looking at them. It takes a while for the room to settle down into its familiar habits. The fridge muttering to itself in the kitchen. The pictures in their frames letting out their stomachs and hanging slightly askew once more.
Hardcore horror/fantasy enthusiasts might find the author's habit of imbuing each protagonist with a sense of wonder and self-discovery slightly saccharine and hackneyed after the umpteenth happy ending, but longtime de Lint fans will be delighted. --Jhana Bach --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

With this collection of 22 stories?including three new tales and four that previously appeared only as limited-edition chapbooks?de Lint returns to the magic-steeped streets of Newford, the setting for his acclaimed novels Memory & Dream, Trader and Someplace to Be Flying. Although Newford seems a typical North American city, it houses an unusual array of artists, from painters and musicians to writers and tarot-card readers: the creative forces behind de Lint's stories. Each entry follows characters changed irrevocably by the touch of magic. The collection's bookend tales, "Saskia" and "The Fields Beyond the Fields," are linked stories about a writer whose relationship with a mysterious woman renews his creative fires. In "The Big Sky," a dead man stubbornly trying to hang on to the living world discovers the consequences of stagnation. "Heartfires" reverberates with the earthy voices of ancient spirits, proving that "a thing is just a thing until you have the story that goes with it." Other magical beings inhabit "The Invisibles," "Crow Girls" and the wry tale "Passing." As always, de Lint's writing is smooth and captivating, though the frequency of recurring themes (death, lost love) make the book best read in short spurts. Even at their darkest, the author's stories, like the best fantasy, will remind readers that "no matter how grey and bland and pointless the world might seem...there really is more to everything than what we can see."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Newford
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st Mass Market Ed edition (December 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812565495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812565492
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,721,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
With "Moonlight and Vines" Mr. De Lint returns his readers to the familiar streets of Newford, reacquainting us with characters well known and loved and a few new ones. While his first collection, "Dreams Underfoot," had the sprightly, fey spirit of Jilly Coppercorn tripping through it; and the second "The Ivory and the Horn," the low murmur of a Native American drumming; this third collection, has taken a darker, more Gothic turn. Cemeteries and nighttime figure largely, poetically in the settings, whether an actual place or mood met within the characters, is up to the reader to decide.
One of Mr. De Lint's talents has ever been displaying the hidden corners of an individual's soul, touching upon a common chord of sadness or despair, then clearing a path through it. He promotes what some might consider an old-fashioned concept: there is always hope and a way to get beyond one's own pain. That he is able to do this, without sounding like a wide-eyed Pollyanna, is a true gift. Reminded of the interconnectedness of everything, his characters and the reader emerge from the pages with the feeling that through their actions and compassion, they can change the world.
The value of dreaming, highlighted in "If I Close My Eyes Forever," gives a nod and a smile to Neil Gaiman's equally rich world of the Endless. "The Invisibles" teaches an artist that not only street people can lose their shape and identity. Anyone who has ever lost someone through distance or death, cannot fail to be deeply touched by "Wild Horses." I would go on about each of the stories, at length, but that would surely spoil the pleasure of discovery which accompanies reading them.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charles de Lint has an amazing way of writing; I can only compare his style to Guy Gavriel Key, which makes me think that there is something truly magical in the waters up in Canada. When de Lint writes, you feel a strong tug at your deepest core; you know he is writing about a truth, even if you have yourself never seen balloon people -- they are true on a level beyond something seen on the news.
Many writers currently seem determined to make faeries and other magical creatures very nice, very sweet, and altogether sappy. In these short stories we find nice creatures. We also find not quite so nice ones. We also find quite horrid ones, ones that would make our nightmares sit up and take notice. We find here the wellspring for artistic inspiration and the black void that leads to drug overdoses, the spirit of freedom and the freedom that goes too far and leads to madness. Here is hope, despair, and every other emotion, sometimes whispering, sometimes crying defiantly, but always with a sense that there is a truth here, no matter how much it may seem like a "mere fairy tale".
This is an important point -- de Lint is writing about reality, about real lives, about real feelings, about real emotions. There is a touch of magic to this, from the woman who doesn't want to admit that she sees things others do not, to the man who falls too in love with a photograph. What de Lint is writing about is what makes us ourselves, whether that is very good or very not good; he writes about fears, lusts, emotional expression, distrust, scams, and dozens of other human activities with a passion and an honesty that few can match or manage.
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Format: Hardcover
The short stories in Charles de Lint's `Moonlight & Vine aren't really fantasies per se - rather they are tales of wounded people - mostly women, who are lonely, despairing, lacking self worth or confidence, unable to maintain healthy relationships, sexually confused, and carrying around old hurts from abusive fathers, departed lovers, and totally dysfunctional families. These people don't take their problems to therapist. Instead, they work them out through encounters with ghosts, vampires, guardian angels, and various spirits and creatures from the spirit world of faerie.
I first encountered Charles de Lint twenty-one years ago when I read his excellent novel `Moonheart'. His unique style of urban fantasy and mixture of old and new world mythologies intrigued me and drew me into his work. Over time, however, his writing concentrated less on the elements that drew me to him, and more on the themes of wounded people working out their recovery through his fantastic world of faerie. While I'm sure there must be a market for this type of writing, it holds no appeal for me. I stopped reading him for a long time, but this past month I decided to give him another try to see if perhaps he had returned to his old magic. Unfortunately, the answer was no. In `Moonlight & Vines' he has given over almost entirely to writing about the walking wounded - emotionally crippled characters. The fantasy elements that are present are so peripheral to these stories that it could almost be removed entirely without significantly changing them.
I believe that De Lint has discovered a niche market with these psychological tales of women wounded from sexual and physical abuse working out their healing and that he now caters to it almost exclusively.
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