- Series: Fairy Tale
- Hardcover: 468 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (March 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312851375
- ISBN-13: 978-0312851378
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 136 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,316,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tam Lin (Fairy Tale) Hardcover – March 1, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
This delightful new entry in the Fairy Tale series, featuring children's classics refashioned for adult audiences, adapts the eponymous Scottish ballad to a Midwestern university setting. In the early '70s, scholarly Janet Carter enters Blackstock College as an English major. She and roommates Christina and Molly fall in with an attractive, often eccentric group of classics students who circle around Professor Medeous, a spectacular, enigmatic redheaded woman. The girls pair off with young male classicists, Janet beginning an affair with Nicholas Tooley, whose vast familiarity with Shakespeare and often distant approach to intimacy disturb her. When the liaison ends, she takes up with the young man formerly attached to Christina. The ghost of a pregnant student who committed suicide, mysterious late-night horseback forays led by Professor Medeous and the appearance in a list of Shakespeare's actors of the names of three of the Classics Department scholars urge Janet on a dangerous quest to save her lover. Dean ( The Whim of the Dragon ) has written a quintessential college novel, anchoring its fantastic elements in a solid, engaging reality.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The medieval Scottish ballad of a young woman who rescues her love from the queen of faerie undergoes a radical but convincing transformation as fantasy author Dean ( The Secret Country ) updates the story to modern times and relocates it to a Minnesota college campus. The fifth volume in the "Fairy Tale Series," which includes Steven Brust's The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars ( LJ 3/15/87) and Patricia Wrede's Snow White and Rose Red (Tor Bks., 1989), vividly portrays a classic tale of love that spans the border between the worlds. Recommended.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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It must be said, and this is my primary motivation for writing this review at all, that the very tiny bit of the book that dealt with people of color was insensitive at best. There are references to an “Oriental” face (that descriptor had already been relegated to use for rugs only at the time this book was published,) a distracting Asian acting in a classical play that brought about thoughts of Korean adoptees during the play, “the usual remote and foreign-looking people one never seemed to see around campus,” and lastly Janet’s close friend who doesn’t feature prominently in the book, is described at one point as an “especially smug Buddha” statue. I found this treatment offensive.
If you enjoy stories about adolescents majoring in Classics or English in small liberal arts colleges, I suggest reading Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History.”
This is more a work of literature as it is fantasy or magical. Anyone with more of a literary bent than I would be able to appreciate it better. It was full of nicely descriptive writing and academic intellectual navel-gazing surrounding a slow plot that seemed like it was packing for a drive across the country, only to limp across the yard very, very slowly.
Much of the book centered around thoughts and conversations about literature: Shakespeare, Pope, Chaucer, Dante, Homer, Keats, Swift, Austin, plus a much longer list of names I've never heard of. These are, for the most part, works I am unfamiliar with, that were spoken of by characters who had deep understandings of the subject matter. Most of the time I felt like a lot of important or clever or insightful or funny things were going on, and I was missing all the in-jokes. Now and then, when I was able to catch grasp of a full conversation or situation, I laughed out loud, or eagerly anticipated the next page -- but for the most part, I was confused. It would be sort of like a non-geek or time traveler trying to read something like Ready Player One, or just the internet in general.
The bits of magic and mystery were slowly eked out, just enough (barely) to keep me interested to the end. The characters were certainly interesting and likable. There were pages with quotes so insightful that I wanted to underline or dog-ear the page, but it was a borrowed copy, so I couldn't.
To sum up, I sort of feel like I did at the end of reading Ulysses (though not quite as strongly in any sense). I'm completely unsure whether I liked it. I would only recommend it to someone who is either patient, or loves classic and romantic literature. For the most part, it helps me conclude I will always have a hard time appreciating literary novels.