- Feb 9, 2003
- Reaction score
- In a Liminal Zone
I had this explained to me the other way round by a friend: 'you know when you've had enough food, so you stop? Some people have that but for alcohol.'It started with this book, where I realized, for the first time, that not everyone can have *just one glass* of wine at dinner.
I read this back in the spring, and loved it. Janina Duszejko is a fabulous hero (as is her author).This is great:
In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances...
I read that and was taken aback by the sex and violence - it was published at the same time as LOTR. I found it a little flat and didn't really care about the characters.As recommended on one of the other threads, I found an old copy of Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword in my local Oxfam shop and finished it on my train commute home last night.
With its dramatis personae of men, shield maidens, elves, trolls, goblins, shape-shifters etc. magic aplenty, massive battles, characters breaking into verse and, of course, the eponymous broken sword, comparisons with Tolkien are inevitable.
This though is far darker, with elements of sex (notably incestual), torture, madness and despair which Tolkien tended to skirt around.
The style is very archaic and written much like an Icelandic saga - I had to look up the meaning of a few medieval terms.
Along with the fantasy and elements of Norse mythology - The Wild Hunt, Changelings, Odin and Loki manipulating events on Earth like a chess game etc. the challenge to the old ways and the world of faerie from the spread of Christianity is a recurring theme.
Not an easy read, but undeniably powerful and memorable.