Strange things happen in and around the town of Newford. Things that cannot be explained
in our world, yet seem perfectly normal in the one Charles de Lintís characters inhabit in
the latest collection of Newford short stories, Muse and Reverie.
In Muse and Reverie we are introduced to fairies that steal stories and canít help falling in
love with human boys ("Sweet Forget Me Not"), crowgirls who had forgotten they existed well
before the human world was created and could destroy it if they ever remembered their power
("Da Slockit Light"), ghosts granting wishes ("In Sight"), or helping people with their
unresolved issues ("The Hour Before Dawn"), and elves with a taste for sweets and very little
common sense ("A Crow Girlís Christmas").
In others, well known legends are retold with a satisfying twist that makes them seem new,
like the Scottish legend of Tam Lin ("The Butter Spiritís Tithe") or the visit of humans to
the fairiesí lands, where time moves differently (Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting
Three of the stories deal with musicians ("The Butter Spiritís Tithe," "In Sight," "The
World in a Box"), two with people who can see the dead ("In Sight," "The Hour Before Dawn"),
one with humans living as cats ("Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion"), or is it the other way
around? Two take place in Newfordís buried old city ("Da Slockit Light," "Newford Spook Squad"),
two are about second chances ("Riding Shotgun," "That Was Radio Clash"), and in one,
characters come alive to talk to their author ("Refinerytown").
And in my favorite, "The World in a Box," a man is given the chance to play God when he finds
a magic box that contains the world.
For me, itís not the paranormal component of these stories, but their indelible humanity
that makes them magical.