cover image Memory and Dream

Memory and Dream

Charles de Lint. Tor Books, $22.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85572-7

The Otherworld tends to lurk just out of sight in DeLint's (Moonheart; Spiritwalk) works, waiting for some chink to appear in the facade of his characters' lives and allow its spirits entry. This latest work is no exception; here fantastic creatures gain access to the bohemian village of Newford through the work of Isabelle, a talented young painter. Apprenticing herself to the troll-like master painter Rushkin, Isabelle learns to paint amazing creatures-creations that subsequently take on a (possibly evil) life of their own. When circumstances cause a friend's message to reach out to her from beyond the grave, Isabelle must confront her own delusional revisionist history and decide if she has the strength to use her art, and the courage to do what she must. While Isabelle's delusions and the book's implication that artists are superior beings become somewhat repetitious, DeLint is otherwise in top form here. His multi-voiced, time-shifting narrative (the story spans 20 years) beautifully evokes a sense of creative community, making it almost possible to believe that the rarified aesthetic atmosphere might well be capable of conjuring up a spirit or two. (Oct.)