WAIFS AND STRAYS by Charles de Lint

WAIFS AND STRAYS

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sixteen short stories by the noted urban fantasist capture both the wistful sadness of epic ballads and the lingering beauty of summer dreams. These tales (most published previously) were not originally written for teens, but all feature adolescent female protagonists, usually runaways, orphans, or those otherwise cast adrift. Organized by their shared settings, they reveal the transformation caused by discovering the mythic currents that flow beside, under, and through contemporary life. It can be two sisters who encounter vampires with a most unusual agenda (“There’s No Such Thing” and “Sisters”); or a half–breed runaway who runs afoul of an elfin biker gang, only to gain a champion with his own scars (“Stick”); or a rebellious rag-picker who creates her own family among the stray dogs and throwaway people (“But for the Grace Go I” and the title story); or a misunderstood music student, whose tales of faerie lead to accusations of drugs and devil-worship, until her mother admits to hiding from her own (“Ghosts of Wind and Shadow”). De Lint’s (Onion Girl, 2001, etc.) pen is ever graceful and evocative, his heroines simultaneously earthy and evanescent. Like the young artist of “Somewhere in My Mind There is a Painting Box,” most of them learn to tread the delicate balance between “fairies and fancies” and “the everyday magic all around.” But in the classic paradigm of adolescence, what they gain in wisdom and insight they lose in innocence; and they, like the reader, will always feel “the small ache that carries in it a seed of wonder.” (Short stories. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-670-03584-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002




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