This is an early work by McKillip - a novel, not fantasy. I'm a huge McKillip fan but this was not my cup of tea. While McKillips lyrical, dreamlike prose is wonderful in a fantasy landscape it doesn't translate well in general fiction - I guess it can be seen as mystic realism but I don't think it worked well. The novel follows the growth of Francis, a young girl which an incredible imagination who moves around with her family from place to place. As she ages she sees or think she sees a mystical figure she calls the Stagman who follows her on her journey. My biggest problem with the book is it didn't feel like it went anywhere (well no where that interested me), and if I didn't read the cover blurb, I couldn't tell you why Francis moved around or who the other seemingly major character in the book was (not the Stagman, the girl who grew up with Francis). That's how vague things were. Too much to figure out, no reward for doing so. I LOVE McKillip, just not this one.
McKillip is one of my favorite authors - but if she had asked me (which, obviously, she wouldn't have) - I would have counseled her to NOT publish this book. It's not that it's badly written - it's that it's extremely obviously autobiographical, and does not portray the author in a flattering light. Reading it, I kept thinking "I don't need to know this!"
Basically, it's about how she had serious mental/social problems as a child and teenager, grew up scared of/attracted to men, and stayed a virgin for a ridiculously long time, as well as being ridiculously unsophisticated. This is couched in a semi-fantasy/metaphorical concept of being haunted by a "stag-man" who is a dream lover, but it's mostly not a fantasy.
I don't know. Some things don't need to be revealed/confessed to the world.