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*
Rules for Anchorites
Letters from Proxima Thule