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Thomas the Rhymer Hardcover – March 1, 1990
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This hardbound volume is based on the famous Middle English ballad, the story is a dramatic fictionalized account of the medieval minstrel Thomas, who is abducted by the Queen of Elfland and lives for years without aging, but when returning to the real world has some problems. Thomas the Rhymer is an elegant fantasy novel full of mystery, magic, and color, a traditional classic recast as a vivid contemporary novel by a superior writing talent (from inside dust jacket).
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This story, though, is far from great. Some reviewers say it is true to the legend: should it be really so, part of the problem might lie in the original plot and yet the author could have done something to amend that.
Be it as it may, her characters are exceptionally dull -except for the elderly couple- and Elfland is lushiously boring, its beautiful queen being the worst of all.
The verses included are enjoyable.
The story itself is a retelling of the legend of Thomas the Rhymer, of which - I admit - I have never heard before, so I can't make comparisons there. Ms. Kushner's tone here is stylized in the way of vocal folklore - fit for a ballad or a grandfather's telling my a crackling fire. Though the story is a first-person account coming, at various times, from four different characters, the understanding is still that it was, not is. 'And there I've gone, and this I've seen, and so it was' and such like. This does not make for the easiest personal connection to a story, but there's a point in the method of telling, too - it strips the story of flourish, leaving only the bare-bones plot. Which, in this case, requires no help and carries itself gracefully as any story I've ever read. This book is definitely as experience - eerie, fascinating, addictive. I highly recommend it.