Tapping the Dream Tree
by Charles de Lint
Tor, 2002, ISBN 0-312-87401-4
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
This is a hefty collection of de Lint's Newford short stories, several of them published previously available only in limited edition chapbooks or collections, and one of them, "The Witching Hour," is original to this collection. There's a good mix here of the optimistic and the grim, familiar Newford characters and new faces. Jilly, Geordie, and Christy each have the lead in stories of their own, while others feature new characters or characters who have been minor figures in other Newford tales. There's some variety in the settings, as well, with Christy's story taking place during a book tour, and others set more in the hills around Newford than in the city itself.
"Freak" and "The Witching Hour" are undeniably grim in tone, while "Big City Littles" is completely charming, and "Seven Wild Sisters," my favorite of the collection, is a satisfying, adventurous modern fairy tale. Other stories in the collection strik e a wide range of moods and tones, and the overall quality is high. This is enjoable reading for a Newford fan, and probably a good introduction for someone not familiar with de Lint's work.