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- So your heroine is whimsical, with her green eyes and shocking failure to wear a smart skirt and makeup.  I get it! Whimsical! Now stop banging on the contents of her desk and bookshelves, and get on with the story!

- Somehow Welsh mythology gets a smell of Disney when you transport it to the USA or Canada. I don't know why.  Possibly because many of the grimmer bits of Wales get left behind in transit.

- I just can't take pointy-eared elves playing drums seriously.  I know it's a failing, but I can't.

- I'm pretty sure that if you have to fish about under the needles on the floor in a pinewood for a bit of wood to use as a weapon, then that bit of wood will break off in your hand, being completely rotten, or will be firmly attached, being in fact, a root.  Possibly you meant to set this section of the story in an oak woodland?  

The lights of the town from above are 'like a giant's quilt'.  Giants have black quilts with illuminated fairy lights?  This casts a whole new light on the domestic lives of giants.  Actually, I'd never previously thought of giants as owning quilts....

I've only got half way through so far but every time I think I've managed to suspend my disbelief, something comes along and knocks it over again.

The whole issue of the Welsh / Celtic myths called upon has been swishing around in my mind, and I think I've made some progress on working out why it feels so wrong. 

The setting is Ottowa, and  the protagonists are 'alternative thinkers' - by which the author mostly seems to mean agnostics or people of a mystical bent who are not Christian.  A couple of 'conventional' relatives are mentioned and it's clear that these are Christians, in a very New World sense of the word.  The fantasy elements are based on the fragments of pagan myth, I think from the Mabinogion from what I remember of it. 

So we've got this picture of on the one hand, the pagan celtic mystical world (Woooooo!) and on the other, a sort of white picket fence 'normal' modern Christian world, and Never The Twain, etc. 

But nothing acknowledging 1600-odd years of Christianity in Wales, nothing recognising the Christian mystical tradition or Insular Christianity...   There's a ring decorated with 'Celtic Ribbonwork' which the author clearly thinks of as pre-christian, but I suspect is visualising as something out of, say the Book of Kells, rather than La Tene.

I am not a Christian myself, but I think that's my underlying problem with this setting and concept.  Too much cherry picking of the bits of myth that fit in with the author's world view and method of pigeonholing people. And an attempt at a Welsh flavouring using too many ersatz ingredients... 
 

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
pellegrina
8th Apr, 2009 10:31 (UTC)
I have wondered about trying Charles de Lint, but if it's all like that I may not bother...
bunn
8th Apr, 2009 10:38 (UTC)
I'm finding it moderately amusing, but I suspect it would annoy you. I'm thinking of him as 'Charles de Cadbury Flake'.
(Deleted comment)
pellegrina
8th Apr, 2009 13:01 (UTC)
I finished it, all 1.4kg of it, and particularly enjoyed the ducal succession hunting scene. But I wasn't crazy about the ending! I need to arrange returning it to you; are we likely to cross paths any time soon?
(Deleted comment)
pellegrina
9th Apr, 2009 08:32 (UTC)
I was going to try to make it to Sarehole, possibly (though this has not yet been arranged with the prospective hosts!) spending some time in Wolves before or after, like last year. So maybe we could arrange something that weekend.
smirnoffmule
8th Apr, 2009 11:03 (UTC)
Maybe won't check that one out then.

I picked up the Left Hand of Darkness as per your rec, btw - haven't started it yet, but it's on my to do list.
bunn
8th Apr, 2009 13:24 (UTC)
Would be interested to hear what you thought, when you get round to it.
philmophlegm
8th Apr, 2009 17:08 (UTC)
I feel you need to include the Fleetwood Mac song 'Rhiannon' in any discussion of Welsh mythology in an American context.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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