The book itself was a delight to read I like desert of Southern Arizona best of the four locale s that were chosen I am very fond of this book, in part because I think it is one of the few urban fantasies that include artists and a description of their work that makes me want to see the artwork described I suspect it is because Windling is a painter as well as a writer, and she genuinely creates those works even if not materially I think she does this far better than de Lint, for example, who though I really, really like his stories and many of his novels peoples his writing with artists whose work I never find myself wanting, much less needing, to see.
Perhaps it is a cultural thing Windling s elusive Ana is a bit of a combination between RL artists Remedios Varo and Ana Mendieta, and what we get of her story rings true of a certain generation of Latin American artists my mother among them who combined big city sophistication with the profoundly formative and undeniable indigenous and folk art visions of countries like Mexico and Guatemala I believe the other artists works too Tatiana s and Juan s and although I find them less intriguing, I wouldn t mind attending one of their exhibitions If I have a complaint about this work it is that the most interesting characters for me , Ana and Cooper, are too easily dismissed The resolution of their lives and relationship, and the mystery of abandonment of Ana s art that had been life blood until then, is unsatisfying and facile Windling does better honoring Cooper than Ana and I think it is a missed opportunity Despite this, I still wholly recommend the book.
Enjoyed it very much Mystical based urban fantasy, or rater, rural fantasy, as it largely takes place in a remote area of Arizona Although this book was enjoyable once I sat down and made some uninterrupted time for it, I found the writing occasionally sermonizing, such as when a character is making a point about wildlife being shot and poisoned under game laws, or bringing suburban housing values to rural settings It s not that I don t agree with those values I do it s that it seemed to interrupt the story flow I don t know, maybe it was appropriate in the guise of enlightening Maggie about the man made troubles the desert faced Aside from that, I savored a book that was clearly in love with artistic expression, chiefly painting, poetry and writing I wish I knew about some of the traditions that contextualize Anna s paintings, so I could have a better mental picture of her work I love the southwest desert, and appreciated the time Windling spent describing it I felt the structure of the story could have been a little stronger, as the narrative struggled with shifting perspectives Maggie, Fox, Dora , shifting purposes escaping an unhappy love, researching Cooper, building a desert life and then shifting styles omnipotent narrator, personal reflection, intercepted letters Nonetheless, the language and imagery is enough to rate this space on a limited personal bookshelf.
Poet Davis Cooper dies, leaving his home in the Tuscon mountains to Maggie Black, his friend and prot g As she explores his home and the mysteries of his life and death, she begins to suspect that the magic that fills Cooper s poems is not allegory but rather reflects the reality of the desert mountains Although well written and technically accomplished, exaggerated characters and a predictable plot render the book s magic flat The Wood Wife may satisfy some readers, but I found it disappointing and don t recommend it.
Windling clearly knows her way around a piece of literature her characters are well defined almost to excess , every scene serves a purpose, the plot has a strong conclusion all in all, she knows what she wants to say, says it well, and The Wood Wife is technically accomplished But technical skill is only one part of a good book, and this novel lacks the other rather elusive factors which would make it a success It has no subtlety or passion The characters are excessively defined, and they too easily accept the magic of their mountain That magic is a thoughtful spin on some Native American and mythic fantasy tropes, but the plot and writing style that explore it are too straight forward Rather than hovering over the land like a mirage, the magic is as flat as the paper it s printed on.
I suspect that some of my apathy of the book is a result of personal preference The Wood Wife is very similar to Charles de Lint s work and other mythic fantasy novels, which likewise fail to impress me Readers who are interested in artistic characters encountering native styled magical beings on the edges of urban American environments, likewise readers which prefer straight forward storytelling, will have better luck with this book Regardless, I believe that Windling s technical skill is wasted on this lackluster novel There is no passion, mystery, or magic here just attempts at each As such, I don t recommend The Wood Wife.
Dreamers, cacti, wild pigs Poets and musicians This is the kind of book that I could have really enjoyed as a much younger person I think in my dreamy teens, it could easily have been my gospel I can feel that stuff about my Appalachian woods, so I can believe it of someone else s desert But now cynical old me, it just didn t catch me in my fur, it didn t drag me out onto that star spiral and take me away across time and the canyon sky Once upon a time I would have lived and dreamed myself into Maggie, probably even bought myself a black man s suit jacket, and imagined myself that kind of sexy I can imagine how I might have reacted, but it s all one step removed.
BUT, I loved Thumper Thumper was excellent She was the best part of the whole book, the most whole, real, alive I might be glad I read it just for knowing her Sometimes that s what books are for so you can meet someone.
5 Terri Windling s urban adjacent fantasy set in the desert mountains outside Tucson, Arizona fuses several favorite themes of mine into a compelling whole The Rincon Mountains are a place where spirits watch over the land and humans may either live in peace or at odds with these timeless beings Here, the blurry line between mortal life and the spirit world wends itself through the characters lives in a beguiling, serpentine manner The natural world is all encompassing in its wild thriving existence so much deeper, wider, and longer than any mere human life But the poets and artists among us are those who hold the keys to connect and communicate with those others who walk unseen or simply unrecognized among us And it is at that nexus of true art where the novel s power lies Probably the less said about the particulars of the plot here the better, for there is a mystery at play, woven from many different threads, and its shroud is best lifted ever so slowly by Windling herself Highly recommended for readers who enjoy subtle contemporary fantasy mystery of a folkloric nature, and in particular those drawn to the desert lands of the American Southwest.
com 2017 07 03 riot This is good, but we just didn t connect all the way, me and this book It probably didn t help that I thought the ex husband was one of the most interesting characters I don t think I was supposed to think that.