Re-envisions the ballad of Tam Lin at a liberal arts college in the mid-seventies - and quite effectively, too. Definitely a book for people who enjoyed their college lit classes, as it spends far more of its 468 pages talking about literature than Faerie. But then, the two aren't completely unrelated after all, are they?
This is one of those books that you either lovelovelove or hatehatehate. Those who love it do so because of Pamela Dean's skillful descriptions of life at a liberal arts college in the mid-70s. Those who hate it complain about the fake, pretentious characters, the slow pace, and the too-detailed descriptions and dialogue.
Me, I guess I'm in the second camp. I heard such good things about this book and so ordered it with high hopes. However, I found the characters annoying and unrealistic. I'm attending a liberal arts college now, but no one I know speaks in such a high-fallutin', quote-filled manner. I found myself irritated at the overexuberant descriptions of the campus; must NOTHING be left for me to imagine? Must I know the location of every building, bridge, rock, and tree on Blackstone's campus?
TAM LIN is more a detailed sketch of college life rather than a retelling of a fairy tale. I was disappointed that there was not more fantasy in it--guess I was expecting some. I have a feeling that those who love this book are those who can relate to the liberal arts college student life back in the 70s. It's the 21st century, college is so much different, and I just couldn't get into this book.
Thus far, my favorite work of Dean's. A must for theatre and lit majors - I chuckled most of the way through - some of the characters bore a curious resemblance to people in my undergrad classes in the 70s! The connection to the Child ballad is wonderfully reimagined, and I loved the fact that a few characters bore names of actual players from Shakespeare's time.
I absolutely adore this book. I picked it up before my freshman year of college and I keep rereading it at every few months. This book really is one that you either love or hate.
That being said, this book isn't an average fantasy novel. The magical/fantastical elements are just a small part of the book, with the bulk being the life of a college student. Like most college student's lives, the book is consumed with details about friends, lovers, classes, and family. As a student at a tiny liberal arts college, this book seems very realistic at times. Although I've heard complaints that the book isn't very fitting for contemporary college, it really would fit in with the atmosphere of my particular college. I've met professors that aren't unlike Dean's, and students that would easily fit in with Janet and her friends. In fact, you're missing out if you haven't had ridiculous arguments with friends/professors over things like which absolute monarch was the "best", who the "bad a$$es" of history are, or which translation of the Iliad is 'best'. I love this book because Dean captures this atmosphere perfectly. I'll continue reading this book even after I graduate just to reminisce about my undergrad school.
Another book in Terri Windling's wonderful Fairy Tale Series.
This urbam fantasy book tells--re-tells--the story of Tam Lin / Thomas the Rhymer and sets it among outlandish theater majors at a small Mid-western college.
Absolutely top-notch like all of the books in this series!
Book is in good cond.