Charles de Lint,
Old Man Crow
(Subterranean Press, 2007)

Is he a man dreaming he's a crow? Or a crow dreaming he's a man?

Where Charles de Lint is concerned, you know the answer will never be so simple. Joey Creel is an old man with a sack of stories and songs to share, but he's also Old Man Crow, a spirit form far older than any mere bird could be. But a visit by the naked woman, or spirit bear, in his dreams has started him remembering things about his past, and the world, that had slipped from his memory like a feather in the wind.

Mythic fiction, a branch of urban fantasy defined and refined largely through de Lint's series of Newford tales, deals with a great deal of otherworldly concepts and lore-soaked themes, and Old Man Crow is no different. But even as ancient gods and spirits tread the Earth, de Lint keeps his focus on the very human side of things, and it's that quality that makes his stories so hard to ignore or forget.

Old Man Crow is a special, extremely limited printing of this short story by Subterranean Press that is likely, by now, already sold out. It's surely worth reading, particularly for longtime fans of de Lint's work. If you can't find it -- or if the hefty cover price gives you pause -- wait a while and it will probably turn up in one of de Lint's future short-story collections.

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review by
Tom Knapp

6 September 2008

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