“Jilly’s always saying that magic’s never what you expect to be, but it’s often what you need. I think she’s right. And it doesn’t matter if the experience comes from outside or inside. Where it comes from isn’t important at all. What’s important is that it does come—and that we’re receptive enough to recognize and accept it.”

That above paragraph was said by one of the main characters in the short story, In The Quiet After Midnight from the Moonlight & Vines short story collection by Charles de Lint.  The character in that story, Angela, is telling Hannah about how magic can come in someone’s life when you least expected it.  But can we accept that magic as real?  That quote could be the major theme for the entire short story collection.  de Lint wants to show in his fictional city of Newford that the supernatural exists and will people open their minds and hearts to it.

Moonlight & Vines is the third short story collection and sixth book published chronologically in the Newford series. As with most short story collections, there are some stories that connect with me more than others.  My favorites from this collection are Saskia, In The Pines, Crow Girls, Wild Horses, The Pennymen, and the aforementioned story, In the Quiet After Midnight. de Lint links the characters from these short stories throughout the collection and as a reader you get an unique perspective into a fictional city unlike anything I’ve read in the fantasy genre.

Charles de Lint is one of my favorite writers and reading his brand of contemporary, urban fantasy has been a breath of fresh air in a genre (I love reading) that has needed to expand its range of stories beyond endless epic quests or grimdark stories trying to make the genre hyperrealistic.  Ursula Le Guin writes in her The Language of the Night essay collection that fake realism is the escapist literature of our time. I agree with that sentiment. However, de Lint shows repeatedly that fantasy can be set in the everyday world and feel more real than what is commercially accepted and celebrated in the genre.

Moonlight & Vines is a short story collection that can be an entry point for new readers to Charles de Lint.  I would prefer Dreams Underfoot over this one.  However, it is another enjoyable read that adds another layer to the city of Newford.




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Marion Hill