Winner of the Mythopoeic Award.
I really wish I hadn't read this so close to Charles DeLint's 'Memory and Dream'. It was written two years later (in 1996), and DeLint did a blurb for it, so I suppose he deserves credit - but the theme of this story is extremely similar. Both novels deal with the concept of creatures/spirits of myth and legend being given physical form through the work of contemporary artists - and the emotional angst and physical danger that this power can lead to.
However, I liked this book a lot better - I am really a huge fan of Terri Windling in general, and I liked the characters, the setting, and just felt that it flowed really well...
Maggie Black, a sophisticated, successful writer, is unexpectedly named in the will of a famous poet that she had enjoyed a long correspondence with, but never met. Having inherited his house and papers, although this is rendered bittersweet by the fact that the poet appears to have been murdered under mysterious circumstances, she goes to her new property in rural Arizona with the hopes of writing a biography of the man.
In the Sonoran desert, she finds more than she bargained for, not only in the culture shock of the Southwest and the unexpected attraction of a young man she meets there... but going through the poet's papers, she discovers fascinating information about the poet's late wife, the mystical painter Anna Naverra, and begins to uncover a web of secrets. But more than family drama may be involved, as strange visitations and unexplainable phenomena begin to occur...
Originally written as part of a project in tribute to Brian Froud, one might feel that his artwork is mentioned a few too many times... but that's a very minor point in a very enjoyable story...
This book is a good fantasy centered around Maggie Black, who moves from California to the Arizona desert, where she encounters desert magic.
It expertly captures the beauty of the desert, as well as the mystery.
I really enjoyed this book. It starts off with a fairly 'normal' story line. Poet Maggie Smith has been corresponding with Pulitzer-prize winning poet Davis Cooper for years. Despite her continued requests to meet him in person and write his biography the two never met. After Cooper's death Maggie discovers that he has left her his home in the Arizona desert. Maggie travels to his home, hoping to gather enough information to finally write about his life. As she strives to reveal the truth about Cooper's life, mysterious death, and relationship with this long dead artist wife, she embarks on a spritual journey of her own. The ancient mysticism of the desert asserts itself upon her, forcing Maggie to re-examine her own life's path.
I've read this book 4 or 5 times and still enjoy it immensely. I first read it shortly after it first came out, and loved it then. I bought it completely by accident, finding it in an airport bookstore and not even realizing it was fantasy until I started reading it. (I originally thought it was a mystery, and since I prefer Sci Fi/Fantasy, I'm not even sure why I picked it up.)
The characters are well-formed and interesting, as is the plot. The descriptions of the southwest made me want to go there. Years later, spending time in Santa Fe, Canyon de Chelly, Sedona and elsewhere, I felt the images from the book floating back to me and had to re-read the book as soon as I got home from that trip.
I wish Terri would leave off editing and write more! Not that I have any complaints about her editing...
This was a good fantasy set in the American Southwest. I liked how Maggie learned about the land and people around her and how she discovers the truth behind Cooper's death.
This was my first venture into fantasy and I enjoyed Windling's writing very much. I liked the characters! I could picture myself in the story and the environment. Good reading.
This is one of my all time favorite books. Beautifully written, it takes you where you never expect to go!
An amazing story.Was glad I read it.