Book Review 149: Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

In nearly 150 reviews, I have not reviewed a short story collection. I do not have an explanation for this oversight other than I don’t read a lot of short stories.  However, I have reviewed one of my favorite writer’s short story collections to end my reading year of 2018.

Dreams Underfoot is the first short story collection of urban fantasy legend Charles de Lint set in his fictional city of Newford.  Newford is inspired by his hometown of Ottawa, Canada.  The collection of nineteen tales introduces many of the main characters that make up the novel length stories like Memory & Dream, Trader, Someplace to be Flying, Widdershins, and many others.

This collection read like interlinked stories instead of individual stories complied together. I had several favorite stories like Timeskip, a story about a young man who falls in love to a woman from the past.  Freewheeling, a story about a drifter who cut open locked bicycles to set them free. Pity the Monsters, a story that reexamined the Frankenstein legend and had an interesting take on the adage that “beauty is only skin deep.” These stories provided depth and texture to the world of Newford and made Dreams Underfoot an enjoyable read.

Charles de Lint acknowledges in this podcast interview that Dreams Underfoot is his recommendation for newcomers to his stories.  I would concur with that recommendation and add if you enjoy reading short stories, then you should read Dreams Underfoot. I will read and review more short story collections after my experience with this collection. Recommended.

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