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Memory and Dream
by Charles de Lint ©1994 HB ISBN 0-312-85572-9
Just finished full immersion in this intense piece of fantasy/ fiction, and let me tell you, it was a journey of magickal portents and discoveries. This tale focuses on an artist, Issy, who learns to use her artistic capacity to bring beings she calls numena here from the 'before' by way of her paintings. At the beginning of her career she is taken up and tutored by a famous painter who turns out to have some really bizarre quirks and habits. He teaches her how to use her gift and she brings forward at least a hundred numena, some human and some wonderfully strange mixtures of humanoid creatures with wild animal leanings. The story centers on Issy's relationship with her writer friend, Kathy, and a group of bohemian artist folk in her community. Isabelle's numena play a pivotal role in the tale and her world is enriched and made terribly complex by their presence. I felt completely drawn into the lives of these people and the art they both created and fostered in others. The Numena in the tale are both seductive and winsome.
I won't say more about the plot line, as it is an adamantine stone you should enjoy from the tip to the final uncovering.
In addition to this full-palette story, Charles de Lint also gives us another gem about the power of fantasy tales, with this quote from Kathy's journal in the book,
"…The real difference is that with fantasy – and by that I mean fantasy which can simultaneously tap into cosmopolitan commonality at the same time as it springs from an individual and unique perspective. In this sort of fantasy, a mythic resonance lingers on – a harmonious vibration that builds in potency the longer on considers it, rather than fading away when the final page is read and the book is put away. Characters discovered in such writing are pulled from our own inner landscapes – the way Issy would pull her numena from hers – then set out upon the stories' various stages so that as we learn to understand them a little better, both the monsters and the angels, we come to understand ourselves a little better as well."
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Arts, Magick, and contemporary Folk Tales. Enjoy!