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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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prester john
I'm super exhausted this week, trying to get everything ready for The Habitation of the Blessed launch on Monday as well as World Fantasy this weekend, and just...falling over flat. But I was cheered up by the Publishers Weekly review of said book, which I'm pretty sure is the most positive review I've ever gotten from PW. Squee! They liked it! (Thing is, I've honestly been writing this book for like four years now. I have no objectivity at all any more, and I'm just so excited for this first official-channels review.)

The Habitation of the Blessed: A Dirge for Prester John, Vol. 1
Catherynne M. Valente, Night Shade (www.nightshadebooks.com), $14.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-59780-199-7

In 1165, a letter ostensibly written by the distant Christian king Prester John describing a kingdom of wonders rocked medieval Europe. In this enchanting retelling of the legend, the first volume in a projected trilogy, Hugo nominee Valente (Palimpsest) imagines what might have been discovered by Rome's ambassadors if the letter had not been a hoax. Nothing is quite as fabulous as the pious priests had hoped. Prester John and St. Thomas the Twin married nonhuman women; the Fountain of Youth does not sparkle, but instead "oozes thick and oily, globbed with algae and the eggs of improbable mayflies." Three very different personalities narrate: the brooding Prester John himself; his carefree and openhearted wife, the blemmye Hagia; and maternal Imtithal of the elephant-eared panotii. Filled with lyrical prose and fabled creatures, this languorous fairy tale is as captivating as Prester John's original letter.

That last line is hot.

*dances, wearily, then back to work*

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Now THAT is a great last line. Congratulations!

I have to admit that I'm half-way though it (reading the Kindle edition on my phone, whee!) and people have been asking me for days why this sudden love-affair with my phone.
Can't put it down can't put it down can'tputitdownmustgoreadmore.

Edited at 2010-10-27 10:26 pm (UTC)

My copy arrived yesterday, whoohoo!

That's fantastic!

It seems like someone bought it off my Wish List -- I just hope it's not a mistake and they mean it for me!

Great conceit, great novel, worthy review. You're a shining star for all to see.

*grins wide* Oh my, that means a lot coming from you!

My copy just arrived today from Amazon (guess they shipped physical copies early also) and it's absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to get started! I just finished Mermaid's Madness and was about to begin Red Hood's Revenge but plans have changed.

Looking forward to reading it.


Last weekend I crossed paths w/seanan_mcguire at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. She pointed out a particular book on the shelves, so I had to take a picture of her with it before I bought it:


(blurry Jeremy in the background)

Edited at 2010-10-28 12:08 am (UTC)

I am enjoying reading it immensely. I loved the short story and am so delighted to see this in book format ^_^

I am about half way through, and I like it. I am savoring it like dark chocolate and good single malt.

I'm so going to have to get this book. When will it be available in Australia?

My copy arrived yesterday. I can't wait to sit down and read it. I'm saving it for over my Thanksgiving or winter break from school, so that I can focus on it properly and give it my full and undivided attention.

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