I have been reading Charles DeLint again lately. One of his later books, The Painted Boy, is a particular favorite. I like the shape changing that occurs, and how it is tied to a family legacy and responsibility. It has a multicultural layer, with the inevitable clash of cultures, however, what intrigues me is the way DeLint talks about things that draw people together, the ways in which they find connection in the pursuit of service to their chosen community. This story stands alone, away from the world of Newford, yet it echoes a bunch of the themes present in those stories.
I was enjoying myself so much reading The Painted Boy, I decided to go back to some of the earlier works that spoke to me. I am currently re-reading Moonheart by DeLint. The online version has lovely illustrations, which are a happy addition to the original work. I first read Moonheart in 1987 when I was traveling for the first time. It seemed, at the time, that the journey of the protagonist, Sara, was echoed by my own journey at the time. I remember thinking that the traveler sees things more clearly because they are ‘out of context’ and cannot help but engage from a place of stillness. I recall thinking that if I could ‘act from the listening place’ that ‘right action’ may follow. I’m not sure how well I did in comparison with my fictional role model, but it sure made for good reading.
In reading the stories again, I find I am looking for the familiar threads that run through them. Along the way, I am discovering things I missed the first time around. I had not remembered there were so many threads of government agencies tampering, or attempting to, with the paranormal for instance. That added to the tension of the story by racking up a body count to contrast against the much more thoughtful actions of our newly talented heroine. The obstacles against her were not only paranormal, but physical. There were many levels to the layers of conflict. Nice job.
After this, I think I’ll give another couple of his early works another read. He’s the master of weaving together urban fantasy. I particularly recommend ‘Riddle of the Wren’ and ‘Moonheart’ for new readers. Check out his amazon author page.
Now I’m going to dive back into Moonheart.