Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Greenmantle by Charles de Lint (novel #164)

"It was something between wizardry and poetry..."


I've had Charles de Lint on my TBR for quite a while now, and after reading James Buchan’s classic Greenmantle, I thought it would be fun to read  Greenmantle by Charles de Lint. The title is the only thing they have in common…well, not truly the only thing. I described Buchan’s Greenmantle as a guilty pleasure, and I felt much the same about de Lint’s novel. Again – that’s not a bad thing.

 

de Lint’s is described as a writer of urban fantasy, magical realism, and mythic fantasy; Greenmantle could be categorized as all three. It is about a mob hit-man trying to go straight, a single mom and daughter trying to make it in the wide world without depending on men, and about a Pan-like deity living in the backwoods of Canada, who weaves their lives intricately together. 

 

For the most part it is a fun read. I was invested in the characters, and intrigued by the mystery. It was fast-paced and held my attention from beginning to end. However, there was one significant downside for me. De Lint uses his story to advocate a worldview that I have no affinity for. It isn’t pervasive, but when it comes up, it is rather in your face. That’s the author’s prerogative, and it’s mine to take exception. I’ll definitely give de Lint another read, but if it’s more of the same, that may be enough for me.

 

I give it 3 of 5 stars





Excerpts:

 

The music that Tommy played was only a memory of what this creature was. It was something between wizardry and poetry, between enchantment and music. Its antlers were the branches of the tree of life and in its eyes was the beauty of the world, always seen as though for the first time.

 

It was beauty that needed preserving, whether it lay in a forest, a field, or a city street. Whether it was the workings of a plant, from seed to new growth to mulch, or the workings of some complex machine. There was room for everything in the world, so long as men remembered the beauty.


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