LAVONDYSS: Journey to an Unknown Region by Robert Holdstock

LAVONDYSS: Journey to an Unknown Region

Email this review


Overcomplicated quasi-sequel to Holdstock's remarkable Mythago Wood (1985), where the psychic fields of a primeval woodland interact with the human racial unconscious to produce ""mythagos,"" living embodiments of archetypal heroes, goddesses, and so forth. Young Tallis Keeton lives on the fringes of the wood, and grows up aware of certain of the wood's powers. Sometimes, in waking dreams, she is instructed in woodlore by three mysterious female figures. So, Tallis constructs a set of shamanistic masks: the masks, when she puts them on, expand and after her perceptions. She also learns more about the disappearance in the wood of her brother, Harry, who was disfigured in WW II and for long was thought dead. Tallis' odd talents open up, or perhaps create, doorways into distant unknown lands; in Bird Spirit Land, Tallis becomes fascinated by the young prince-figure Scathach and his turbulent history. At last, Tallis will accompany Scathach (not, evidently, a mythago) on the long, arduous journey to the heartland of the wood, Lavondyss, in search of brother Harry and the answers to many puzzling questions--a journey that involves death and rebirth, the roots of myth, and the boundaries of perception. Just as Mythago Wood subsided at last into ponderous symbolism, so here: Holdstock expands his mythological theories at great length and often in absorbing detail. All this, alas, doesn't provide much in the way of plot, momentum, or narrative tension. Mythographically impressive, then, but novel-wise a dowdy and plodding disappointment.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1989
Publisher: Morrow