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Welcome to Charles de Lint’s first collection of Newford stories. Immerse yourself in his gritty fictional city—as much a character as Jilly who paints fey wonders, fiddle player Geordie seeking his stolen beloved, the conjure man and his Tree of Tales, or Paperjack revealing fortunes. Meet Gemmins who live in abandoned cars and Katrina, a mermaid so entranced by love that she’s left the cold dark water to walk in the moonlight. Visit the music clubs, the waterfront, and the alleyways where myths and magic spill into the modern world.
This collection of conceptually innovative, thematically simple stories proves again that de Lint is a leading talent in the urban fantasy subgenre.
I can never recapture the feeling of first arriving in Newford and meeting the people and seeing the sights as a newcomer. However, part of the beauty of Newford is the sense that it has always been there, that de Lint is a reporter who occasionally files stories from a reality stranger and more beautiful than ours. De Lint also manages to keep each new Newford story fresh and captivating because he is so generous and loving in his depiction of the characters. Yes, there are a group of core characters whose stories recur most often, but a city like Newford has so many intriguing people in it, so many diverse stories to tell, so much pain and triumph to chronicle.
Dreams Underfoot is a collection of stories set in Newford, Charles de Lint's mythical city, and its environs, both magical and mundane. I say mythical, but Newford is sometimes more real to me than any other place I've been. The stories in this fat volume are all wonderful… These stories connect in ways that tug at your heart and make you look more deeply for the magic in your own life.
If Ottawa-area author Charles de Lint didn't create the contemporary fantasy, he certainly defined it. …writer-musician-artist-folklorist de Lint has lifted our accepted reality and tipped it just enough sideways to show the possibilities that lie beneath the surface… Unlike most fantasy writers who deal with battles between ultimate good and evil, de Lint concentrates on smaller, very personal conflicts. Perhaps this is what makes him accessible to the non-fantasy audience as well as the hard-core fans. Perhaps it's just damned fine writing.
—Quill & Quire
In de Lint's capable hands, modern fantasy becomes something other than escapism. It becomes folk song, the stuff of urban myth.
―The Phoenix Gazette
Charles de Lint shows that, far from being escapism, contemporary fantasy can be the deep mythic literature of our time.
―The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Every story is a winner. With moody pieces offset by airy and magical fantasies, and the occasional glint of an edge just beneath the surface, de Lint does indeed create a mythology all his own.
Maybe you find it hard to believe that the dirty, smelly, crowded modern-day city can have any sort of mystique or magic to it, but believe me, there's a lot more than what meets the eye. Legends stalk the slums, ghosts haunt the cobblestoned streets, goblins dwell in the buried part of the city, and nightmares share the roads. The city itself possesses character, spirit, and an identity.
—Green Man Review
This collection of conceptually innovative, thematically simple stories proves again that de Lint ( Spiritwalk ) is a leading talent in the urban fantasy subgenre, which seeks to unite the escapist whimsy of fantasy with the hard edge of cyberpunk SF. The stories are all set in Newford, a New York/Chicago-style urban jungle where citizens often encounter strange beings--worldly monsters, as well as unearthly ghosts--who coexist in what one character calls ``a consensual reality where things exist because we want them to exist.'' In what may be his cleverest stylistic twist, de Lint links the stories through overlapping characters, all of whom have some familiarity with the fictional writer Christy Riddell, who (like de Lint) writes ``mythistories,'' the ``odd little stories that lie just under the skin of any large city.'' De Lint is at his best when his sense of wonder at the possibilities of imagination is rooted in an unsentimental view of harsh human realities: ``Freewheeling'' includes a sad view of urban street kids, and ``In the House of My Enemy'' takes a tough look at child abuse. However, De Lint's obviously sincere feeling that ``if we learned to care again about the wild places from which we'd driven the magic away, then maybe it would return'' leads him to spell out his moral messages, to the detriment of his fiction.