When asked to choose his “very best” stories, Charles de Lint went directly to his fans, who helped him select this collection of timeless, magical tales. From his beloved Newford to the streets of modern Ottawa, these stories take you effortlessly to a place where mystery and myth are right next door. To quote his readers: “His stories are good for the heart and soul…he reminds you of hope and strength and Beauty and Grace that you may have forgotten.”
“Just as Charles de Lint’s pen drips magic and enchantment, he is also never afraid to write about the darker and painful side of life, and he writes it in a way that moves you. Give this wonderful book a chance; I promise you it won’t disappoint you. Even more, I can assure you, you won’t be the same person when you are done with it: de Lint will have changed you with his magic.”
Contemporary fantasist de Lint built this winning compilation with help from his readers, who voted on their favorite stories. The result is an outstanding and widely varied collection of 29 tales. The delightfully light-hearted "Pixel Pixies" adds magic and mischief to innocent online interactions. ("If you're lucky, [the pixies are] still on the Internet and didn't follow you home.") "Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood" investigates the nature and meaning of memories. The heart-wrenching "In the House of My Enemy," later developed into the novel The Onion Girl, narrates the decisions made by a pregnant girl with an abusive past. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will fall in love with de Lint's graceful, poetic language and characters like "an old man who wore the shape of a red-haired boy with crackernut eyes that seemed as bright as salmon tails glinting up the water."
When it comes to urban waifs and strays, Ottawa fantasy writer Charles de Lint has his own unusual take, creating in his fiction a fantastic world populated by artists, musicians, booksellers, scholars, runaways and, well, magic. With The Very Best of Charles de Lint, the author, who is also a musician, has created a greatest-hits set with a twist. To determine which stories to include (from a body of work spanning 25 years), he asked his fans for their favourites via Facebook and Twitter. The resulting volume is more than 400 pages of the finest urban fantasy fiction of the past three decades, characterized by de Lint’s deep and passionate humanism.
—Robert Wiersema, National Post
There are a number of stories here—quite an impressive number of them—that are simply perfect. By that, I mean that they hit the mark they've aimed at. (And de Lint never aims low.) They've achieved the intended effect. An artistic balance has been achieved between lyricism and clarity of language, consistent and well-developed characterisation that propel the plot at a good pace, and the elements of myth dosed out carefully enough that they retain the elements of mystery. And it's easy to miss that exquisite feat of craft in sheer enjoyment of the story, and the set of feelings the author has evoked. And that, my friends, is storytelling at its best.
—Green Man Review