Studying under painter Vincent Rushkin, young artist Isabelle becomes so adept that her paintings take on a life of their own. This riveting novel is about the power of art; about love, loyalty and the depths of friendship; innocence, cruelty, greed & denial; and the intertwining of these. It's about facing buried memories and dreams, and ultimately, the fragility and strength of the human spirit.
In the bohemian city of Newford, young Isabelle Copley becomes the chosen student of the brilliant, yet reclusive artist Vincent Rushkin. In the course of her arduous training, Isabelle becomes so adept that her paintings take on a life of their own. But her mentor's cruelty brings such tragedy to Isabelle and her creations that she turns her back on her talent and buries her emotions, memories and dreams in a web of denial.
Now, twenty years later, Isabelle must face a past that she has long denied, and once again unlock the slumbering power of her brush. In a dark reckoning with her old master, she must find the courage to unravel her delusions, live out her dreams, and bring the magic of her art back to life.
Unique to this Triskell Press edition is a new (2014) afterword by Charles de Lint discussing how art has affected his writing, and this book in particular.
It is hard to imagine urban fantasy done better than it is by de Lint at his best, and this book shows his imagination and craft at their highest levels.
...de Lint's folkloric scholarship is as outstanding as ever; he never lets it slide into academicism or pretension. Memory and Dream deserves the highest recommendation and the widest readership. Consider it a mandatory acquisition for any self-respecting fantasy collection.
- Booklist, 10/01/94, American Library Association
The Otherworld tends to lurk just out of sight in de Lint's works, waiting for some chink to appear in the facade of his characters' lives and allow its spirits entry. (Memory & Dream) is no exception; here fantastic creatures gain access to the bohemian village of Newford through the work of Isabelle, a talented young painter. Apprenticing herself to the troll-like master painter Rushkin, Isabelle learns to paint amazing creatures – creations that subsequently take on a (possibly evil) life of their own. When circumstances cause a friend's message to reach out to her from beyond the grave, Isabelle must confront her own delusional revisionist history and decide if she has the strength to use her art, and the courage to do what she must. While Isabelle's delusions and the book's implication that artists are superior beings become somewhat repetitious, de Lint is otherwise in top form here. His multi-voiced, time-shifting narrative (the story spans 20 years) beautifully evokes a sense of creative community, making it almost possible to believe that the rarified aesthetic atmosphere might well be capable of conjuring up a spirit or two.
- Publishers Weekly, 10/03/1994