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Charles DeLint

Toronto, Collier Macmillan, 1991. 138pp, cloth, $19.95
ISBN 0-689-31571-6

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Joan Weller.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

This many-layered novel weaves Indian folklore, realism and fantasy into an intricate web of magic. Firmly rooted in reality, the story engages its two teenage heroines in a parallel quest for acceptance in the real world and the salvation of one girl's soul in the fantasy world. Poles apart are Nina, a brainy, attractive preppy, and her cousin Ashley, a sad punky-loner. Abandoned by her rather after her mother's death, Ashley turns aside from her hated cousin and seeks solace in her street friends and the occult. Meanwhile, Nina battles horrific dreams where she becomes the victim of animal transfor­mations.

De Lint masterfully interweaves his dual plots and settings. He is as comfortable with teenage jargon and street talk as he is with his creation of a mystical dream world. His main characters, including a post-hippie aunt and uncle, ring true, as do his important street people, who take on the role of spiritual leaders in his dream world.

As the parallel plot lines draw closer, his characters and plot lines dissolve and mystically reappear transformed on the completion of the quest. Here the reader may require some patience as De Lint works out his sometimes convoluted climactic chapters. But true story­teller that he is, he brings the tale to a satisfying conclusion aided along the way by mystical renderings by artist of faerie fame, Brian Fraud.

Joan Weller, Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa, Ont.
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