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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of short stories, 10 Oct. 2007
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This review is from: Waifs and Strays (Paperback)
A collection of short stories by the wonderful Charles de Lint. The stories all involve teenagers as main characters although it isn't specically aimed at teenagers. It is billed as the perfect primer to his writing and I would have to agree. I haven't read much of his work yet, but I definately plan on doing so (he has now been added as the final author in my top five list of all time). It covers some of the different cities and worlds many of his stories as set in.

It contains 16 stories in all and a brief summary of them all is:

Merlin dreams in the mondream wood - Sara as a child sleeps in the wood under an oak tree when she suffers from night terrors. She meets the Green Man, an old man in the guise of a red-haired boy who lives in the tree. His name is Merlin.
There's no such thing - A tale about a teenage vampire and child abuse involving sisters Apples (Appoline) and Cassis (Cassandra).
Sisters - More about teen vampires with a bit more about his take on their mythology and origins. This is the only original tale for this anthology.
Fairy dust - What happens when a fairy is caught in a jar by two children.
A wish named Arnold - A girl called Marguerite keeps a wish called Arnold (shaped like a crow made of coal) in a brass egg she found in an antique shop. She is granted only one wish.
Wooden bones - Liz is a city girl who is sent to stay with her relatives in the country. She keeps a lot bottled up inside and when she starts to be haunted by fiddle music and a strange creature things get out of hand.
The graceless child - about a trow (Shetland troll) who gets tricked into getting involved in the battle between Gaedrian (Dream) and Nallorn (Nightmare).
A tattoo on her heart - an interesting dystopian world with a look at the nature of humanity.
Stick - a strange tale about gang warfare between humans, elves and halfbloods. Stick (human) helps those in need but accepts none himself until Manda (halfblood) turns up. The Horn Dance morris side (human) join in with their power of good luck and music.
May this be your last sorrow - a sad poignant tale about a runaway girl who seemed like she had everything back at home.
One chance - Like Susanna, Billy gets beaten up by other kids but he also faces his drunk father. When he finds a way to the Other World, will Susanna have the courage to go with him.
Alone - Susanna gets caught up in the mystery of how Peter Reid (a kid at school) died. He was found at the bottom of a ravine, but did he jump or was he pushed...
But for the grace go I - a sad story about runaway Maisie Flood who lives in a squat with her adopted family of stray dogs and retarded boy Tommy.
Ghosts of wind and shadow - Again fairy and music intertwine as a teenage girl who can see fairies runs away from home falling prey to human waste to escape those who don't believe her.
Waifs and strays - More from Maisie and her family after ghosts (emotional and physical) start to haunt her. She is trying to get her life back on track for the sake of looking after her family, but some things just don't seem to want to let her.
Somewhere in my mind there is a painting box - from a series of stories written in collaboration with artist Charles Vess about Lily. Twenty years ago a painter and his mentee went missing in the woods. LIly finds an old paintbox with his name on it and then a strange man appears near by.

Themes of teenagers from single parent families or who have lost a grandparent as well as music, mythology, folklore and fairy tale abound. My favourite was easily "The graceless child", but I enjoyed each and every one. I am looking forward to reading lots more by de Lint in the future and expanding my collection of his books. They truely transport you to another time and place.
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