Friday, June 30, 2006


I just finished Elen Kushner's Thomas the Rhymer. The main reason I picked it up was because of the cover. It says in big letters that it won the World Fantasy award, and it has a nice blurb by Neil Gaiman. I'm glad I got it.

The book is are telling of the classic True Thomas story. The basic version runs along the following lines: Thomas is wandering the hills and meets the Elf Queen. He kisses her, and she takes him away to Elfland. He stays there for seven years. When he returns, he has the gift of prophecy. He never dies, but returns to Fairy many years later.

The book is told from the first person viewpoints of four different characters. The beginning of the tale (up to Thomas's trip to Elfland) is told by the crofter Gavin. The Elfland part is narrated by Thomas. His return is told by Meg, Gavin's wife. Thomas's death is told by Elspeth, his wife.

The story is very much character driven. In the beginning, Thomas seems to be something of a wastrel and a womanizer--though he isn't a bad person. His trip to Elfland teaches him something of nobility and compassion for his fellow men (and women). When he return he has "the tongue that cannot lie," which makes him something of a prophet, and along with his experiences in Elfland, makes him somewhat otherworldly. Finally, he settles down and raises a family, which helps be come somewhat less otherworldly.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. I give it 5 yo-yos.

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