Fantasy Novels and Me

Here, I begin to talk about fantasy novels.

  • What I usually don’t like: epic fantasy full of elves and quests. Except, of course, Tolkein, who rules them all.
  • What I do like: magical realism. And books with interesting characters instead of cliché misfit heroines.
  • What I appreciate but can’t get into: funny fantasy, like Terry Pratchett.

But I’m omnivorous, especially with my e-reader, where I don’t have to purchase a print book to squash into my overloaded shelves.

I read fantasy for fun. And I watch fantasy on TV and in movies for fun. (We’re binge watching the old X-Files series now!)  For serious, I go to a lot of theatre, direct shows, and read theatre history.

Credentials: Years of reading. Degrees in theatre. Playwright. And I’ve written two fantasy novels…well, one of them is refusing to settle down, but the other can be found on Amazon: The Dry.

Here’s my first review. More to come.

Jane Linskold, Child of a Rainless Year

 

I love this book. It’s magical realism, a favorite style with me. And it’s a story of a middle-aged woman who has lived an ordinary life, but now must come to terms with her strange inheritance and unusual gifts. In so many fantasies, the hero is young, perhaps because publishers think that only young people read fantasy. I’ve been reading it all my life, and am happy when the heroine is someone more like me.

The book is also about a house, a house with history and opinions, although both of those emerge slowly, as in a good mystery. And it’s about finding love late in life–both romantic love, and a sense of one’s own purpose.

I’ve also read the first two of Lindskold’s Firekeeper series, now at number 6. It’s straight fantasy, about a woman raised as a wolf, who has to learn to be human and manage the politics and wars of humans.

But book series are like television series—there’s a point where I give up. Sometimes the premise wears out; that is, the idea is only good for so many books or shows. Sometimes the author wears out, repeating the same tropes and images. And sometimes I wear out—a few are fun, then I want something new.

I wondered where Child of a Rainless Year came from, because it’s so different from Lindskold’s other work. Here’s what she has to say about it:

“I have always loved in between places – alleys, dry stream beds, median strips – all those places that are neither here nor there.  . . . Child of a Rainless Year is a novel about those spaces in between. It is about the dichotomy between expectation and reality, about past and present, about parents and children, mothers and daughters, loving and the fear of love. Color weaves through these contradictions, not so much pulling them together as highlighting differences and similarities. Historical events prove to be as important as current events, and even a house has opinions on how things should be done.”

I’m one of those people who re-reads books that I love. I’ve now read Child of a Rainless Year several times. It doesn’t wear out.

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