I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
As the young student of the brilliant Vincent Rushkin, Isabelle Copley discovered she could paint images so real they brought her dreams to life. But when the forces she unleashed brought tragedy to those she loved, she turned her back on her talent - and on those dreams. Now, twenty years later, Isabelle must come to terms with the memories she has long denied, and unlock the power of her brush. And, in a dark reckoning with her old master, she must find the courage to live out her dreams, and bring the magic back to life.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while now and was so glad that it met my expectations, although in a way that I did not expect. One of my book-club women had recommended Charles de Lint’s work to me and I knew that this book was one of my reading project books for this year. I took it on holiday with me, starting it on the airplane.
To begin with, I was worried. I’m a dedicated fantasy reader and this was billed as fantasy and yet I wasn’t seeing how it could be fantasy. Imagine my relief as the required fantastical elements began to show up! I guess that’s my roundabout way of saying that it started slowly.
Like all good novels, this one explores a number of ideas and on a number of levels. What is the nature of art, whether visual or written? What responsibility does the artist have to his or her creations? What about other people, do they have a say in that relationship? How well do we really know the people in our lives? What conditions are we willing to put up with in order to learn the things we yearn to know? Are there any circumstances that justify emotional and/or physical abuse?
I found the ending just tied up a little too neatly for my tastes--I like a few messy ends left hanging and Memory & Dream came just a little too close to a HEA ending in my opinion. But that’s just me. Nevertheless, I’ll be reading more of de Lint’s work in the future.
Book 320 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.