Saturday, September 17, 2016

Article: Seanan McGuire on Fairy Tales and Poetry: Pamela Dean's Tam Lin

On this week, writer of fairy tales and and folklore based novels (among other fun books), got wonderfully nostalgic about Pamela Dean's treatment of another favorite fairy tale of ours, Tam Lin. There's quite a group of people who were greatly impacted by this book, both for the fairy tale themes and the style of writing, not to mention the poetry.

Here's an excerpt:
I liked fairy tales. I liked folk music. When I found a book in a line of books about fairy tales, with a title taken from a ballad, I figured it would be good for a few hours. 
I didn’t expect it to change my life. 
Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean, is one of those books that defies description in the best way, because it both is and is not a fantasy. For most of the book, it’s the story of a girl named Janet starting her college life, with all the changes and chaos that entails. She sees weird things on campus. Okay. Everyone sees weird things on campus. I was already taking classes at the community college across the street from my high school, and I’d seen a man with six squirrels on a leash, a woman attending all her classes in a ball gown, and a person we all called “Troll” whose wardrobe consisted mostly of chain mail and rabbit skins. College campuses are alive with weird things. 
Only her weird things are very real, and eventually they make it clear that the book is a fantasy, and more, that Janet is in some pretty deep sh*t. 
...Tam Lin is a book about choices and consequences, friendships and relationships, and the way our adult selves are built on the bones of the children we once were. It’s also about poetry. If Pamela Dean had never written another word, she would still deserve to be remembered as one of the greats, for this book alone. 
Read it.
You can read the whole article HERE.

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