January 2010

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Saturday, August 1st, 2009 01:57 pm
Finally here, my take on 'The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales"!

This volume, delightfully edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, features 26 good reads, including mostly stories but also a few poems.  These works are based on, include, or based from Tricksters of lore and of those who were fond memories of the authors that could fit the tag of Trickster.  It is the third mythic anthology in this series, which includes "The Green Man" and "The Faery Reel".

First I have to note the attractiveness of the overall package.  This book is sweetly designed, from the layout to the cover & interior decorations by Charles Vess to the blurbs.  Clearly this is a volume deserving to be added to any collection, if not for the quality of the material included then for the pride of owning such a sweet book.

Inside is where I find the only real issue (for me).  I feel that the bio's on the authors with their commentary could have been shaved down.  These take up too much prime room, and while moderately interesting, eat up space that could have been better applied to another work or illustration.  This is really noticeable in the case of the poetry. 

Overall each story and poem in here is good, however,  there are a few tales in the volume that stand out for me.  Some notables are"One Odd Shoe" by Pat Murphy, "Black Rock Blues" Will Shetterly, which (for those keeping track of these things) features an African-American trickster, the only one in prose here, although the really great poem by Jane Yolen is from African lore, "Friday Night at St. Celia's" by Ellen Klagues, "Cat of the World" by Michael Cadnum, and a very thought-provoking story,  "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change," by Kij Johnson.  Also I was quite taken with "Kwaku Anansi Walks the World's Web" by Jane Yolen, a tight short poem that drew me right in.

Whether you are into classic mythology, folklore, or just love reading modern fantasy, you will find a good read in thus.  I'll give it 4.5 Loki Chips out of a possible 5.