With "Moonlight and Vines" Mr. De Lint returns his readers to the familiar streets of Newford, reacquainting us with characters well known and loved and a few new ones. While his first collection, "Dreams Underfoot," had the sprightly, fey spirit of Jilly Coppercorn tripping through it; and the second "The Ivory and the Horn," the low murmur of a Native American drumming; this third collection, has taken a darker, more Gothic turn. Cemeteries and nighttime figure largely, poetically in the settings, whether an actual place or mood met within the characters, is up to the reader to decide.
One of Mr. De Lint's talents has ever been displaying the hidden corners of an individual's soul, touching upon a common chord of sadness or despair, then clearing a path through it. He promotes what some might consider an old-fashioned concept: there is always hope and a way to get beyond one's own pain. That he is able to do this, without sounding like a wide-eyed Pollyanna, is a true gift. Reminded of the interconnectedness of everything, his characters and the reader emerge from the pages with the feeling that through their actions and compassion, they can change the world.
The value of dreaming, highlighted in "If I Close My Eyes Forever," gives a nod and a smile to Neil Gaiman's equally rich world of the Endless. "The Invisibles" teaches an artist that not only street people can lose their shape and identity. Anyone who has ever lost someone through distance or death, cannot fail to be deeply touched by "Wild Horses." I would go on about each of the stories, at length, but that would surely spoil the pleasure of discovery which accompanies reading them.
Were he to entirely remove the fantasy element from his work, Mr. De Lint would still have beautiful, complete stories and characters. That he does include magic, real magic of the world seen and unseen, is a constant joy and delight. There are very few authors who can actually move me to tears or laughter in public places, Mr. De Lint is numbered among them. I was introduced to his work the way one always finds the best books. A friend handed me a copy of "Dreams Underfoot" and said: "You MUST read this." In the years since, I've done the same to many others. With "Moonlight and Vines," I will continue to do so.