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The Ivory and the Horn: A Newford Collection    by Charles de Lint order for
Ivory and the Horn
by Charles de Lint
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Ivory and the Horn, Charles de Lint offers fifteen short stories (fourteen reprints and one new piece, all set in mythical Newford) that explore the boundaries between life, art, and dreamworlds that have their own reality in de Lint's universe. Many tales touch on unfinished business in the afterlife, and - among the living - reveal a community of artistic oddballs, there for each other, and wanting to love and be loved.

There's a ghost who wants to help - and be helped; a childhood friend created in the imagination and long neglected; a social worker mourning a dead child; an anorexic and a cursed wishing well; a ghost seeking the means to destroy a serial killer of children; a grief-stricken woman who accepts a superhero's powers to save the abused - and learns their cost; a saxophone player who falls for a catwoman; a bone woman who sees value in the downtrodden and preserves 'the things that are in danger of being lost to the world'; a lost friend whose art lingers on; an intersection of dreaming worlds; an angel with a broken wing who heals and is called away; an exploration of how closely life mimics art; a Coyote story; and a woman who sees words as colors and escapes into the forever trees.

Some characters - like artistic Jilly, Angel the social worker, and wise Sophie (who learns that 'The journeys we take inside our heads never end') - reappear often in these tales, as well as in other Newford stories. In A Tempest in Her Eyes in this collection, the author tells us that 'The right brain belongs to the artist and it's mostly a stranger because we don't call on it very often ... But fey though it is, this stranger inside us is the one that keeps us sane. It's the one that imparts meaning to what we do, that allows us to see beyond the drone of the everyday.' Read The Ivory and the Horn, to be carried far beyond the everyday and into the fey.

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