- Paperback: 269 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (2 March 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765317575
- ISBN-13: 978-0765317575
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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The Mystery of Grace Paperback – 2 Mar 2010
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""Charles de Lint is the modern master of urban fantasy. Folktale, myth, fairy tale, dreams, urban legend--all of it adds up to pure magic in de Lint's vivid, original world. No one does it better." -- Alice Hoffman
About the Author
Charles de Lint and his wife, the artist MaryAnn Harris, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His evocative novels, including Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, and The Onion Girl, have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction in the manner of storytellers like John Crowley, Jonathan Carroll, Alice Hoffman, Ray Bradbury, and Isabel Allende.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The strength of "The Mystery of Grace" is that there is a bona fide mystery in the story that I wanted explained, namely why does Grace's after-life world only extend several blocks from the Alverson Arms apartment where she lived before her death. This mystery does get explained and resolved in a satisfactory way.
A further strength is de Lint's use of the Southwest as the setting for the development of the characters and their worldview, which includes abuelos and saints and Our Lady of Altagracia.
The opening was very effective, where de Lint set up the mystery of the disappearing tattooed girl.
Finally, de Lint is technically a good writer, and his prose is satisfying and pleasant to follow.
On the other hand, the story was disappointing in the mundaneness of life after death. When Grace returns for her twice a year jaunt, when the spirits haunt the living, it's not very haunting, and Grace is the same person she was before she died. I take it that the banality of the supernatural world followed from de Lint's decision to write the story from Grace's perspective. It is undoubtedly very hard (or impossible) to write a story where the first person narrator is mysterious and spooky to herself.
Likewise, de Lint's nods to multi-culturalism, where everyone is right in their understanding of the mystery of life, so long as they believe in their own faith, to me strenthened the shallowness of Grace's after-life world - it was as if we are finally given the answer to the great mystery of life after death and find out that the answer is the slogan "do your own thing." For example the scene where the residents of the Alverson Arms world confront the McGuffin of the story with their own objects of faith, which for one person - an atheist, I assume - was a copy of Darwin's Descent of Man for me pointed to the problem of a contentless supernatural world, i.e., for heaven's sake, this guy is dead, and he has empirical, experiential proof of a reality beyond the material world, and he is still an atheist?
De Lint was much better, in my opinion, when he was writing from the perspective of the Grace and Conchita's folk Catholicism, because at least, then, there seemed to be some rules for the supernatural world that might have provided a depth and texture to that world. At least when Grace was asking for Our Lady's protection, I had a sense of a mysterious supernatural world that beckoned to my imagination.
Nonetheless, it was a fun book and I felt that I got my money's worth of entertainment value from it.
I somewhat agree with the other reviewer who said that Grace is somewhat one (three) -dimensional. You feel for her situation, and you feel for John, but you don't LOVE either of them, like you do with Jilly or some of CdL's other characters.
I gave "Grace" four stars instead of five because it's not as powerful as some of his other work, but it's a great book.
It lacks believability, which was one of the best qualities of earlier work. It also lacks emotional depth between the characters, until about the last tenth of the book, where it suddenly gets much better.
I love Charles DeLint and will continue to track his work, some of which is still stellar. All I'm saying is if you have a limited budget and you want to splurge on one of his Kindle edition books, think twice about this one.
Grace wasn't a "heroine", but she felt very real - flaws and all. Ultimately, the story was a character-based story revolving around Grace and her growth over a relatively short period of time. As such, it's definitely slower than most of Mr. De Lint's novels. Other than John & Conchita, there's very little interaction with other characters and there's very little traditional adventure. Most of the adventure and growth was internal. It's a very sweet & magical story and definitely worth the read.
I don't usually put much stock in these author blurbs, but I have to say that I agree with this one.
I don't remember how I found Charles De Lint, but I am grateful that I did, because as Ms Hoffman says, nobody does it better.
This is the story of Grace. It is a story of live and love and faith, or the loss of it.
It is a story of friendship and commitment and death. Most of all, it is a story that reminds us, as do all of De Lint's books of the magic within us all.
Grace with her tattoos and her grease and her family, the good and the bad,, is each one of us. Grace is more aptly named than you might think at first look. Grace learns to open her heart wider than she ever believed that she could, and see truth.
This is yet another must read in a long line of must reads by this magical author.