Saturday, April 16, 2011
Of all the authors I could read over and over and never be tired of, Patricia McKillip is on the top of the list. Her newest book, The Bards of Bone Plain, did not in any way disapoint me. Her prose is so rich, abuntant with feeling and imagery. She creates music with her words that you can feel in your bones.
The story of The Bards of Bone Plain centers, of all things, around the research of a term paper of young scholar, Phelan Cle. This is a McKillip world however, so even though the time era (if there is such a thing as time in her books) is something similar to Edwardian, bards still play at court and even something as mundane as chronologuing the life of a dead poet is clouded in magic and mystery. In fact, on closer imspection it is the simplest things that contain the most magic. The past quickly merges with the present as Phelen begins to unravel them both.
Even more than her astonishing style, what makes McKillip's books seem so much like poetry is that they exist in a place that follows no rules. Musicians compete for the position of royal bard with songs drawn from their bones while the queen throws garden parties and the princess drives her automobile to an archeological site to dig up ancient tombs. Anything can exist and yet the world winds around itself, so inctricately connected, so vivid and tantilizing that the reader never for a moment questions.
Other favorites by Patricia McKillip:
Alphabet of Thorn
Song For the Basilisk
The Forgoten Beasts of Eld
In the Forests of Serre
Note also the beautiful book covers by Kinuko Kraft. No one else could fully capture the mood of these books.