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"We Lead Strange Lives, Chasing Our Dreams Around From Place To Place." 
13th-Apr-2013 12:51 am
Little stray book, oh how you have delivered. Possibly to the point of pandering to my tastes, but so few authors know the way into my heart and my bookshelves is via Hamlet quotes and ravens that I doubt any pandering was intentional. (Here follows blockquotes from Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus! You . . . you knew that was coming, right? I mean, when do I ever not share blockquotes with you? Especially when they are so delicious as these.)

The sign proclaims something called the Ice Garden, and Celia smiles at the addendum below which contains an apology for any thermal inconvenience.

Despite the name, she is not prepared for what awaits her in the tent.

It is exactly what the sign described. But it is so much more than that.

There are no stripes visible on the walls, everything is sparking and white. She cannot tell how far it stretches, the size of the tent is obscured by cascading willows and twisting vines.

The air itself is magical. Crisp and sweet in her lungs as she breathes, sending a shiver down to her toes that is caused by more than the forewarned drop in temperature.

There are no patrons visible in the tent as she explores, circling alone around trellises covered in pale roses and a softly bubbling, elaborately carved fountain.

And everything, save for occasional lengths of white silk ribbon strung like garlands, is made of ice.

"Which tent is your favorite?" he asks.

"The Ice Garden," Celia answers, without even pausing to consider.

"Why is that?" Marco asks.

"Because of the way it feels," she says. "It's like walking into a dream. As though it is someplace else entirely and not simply another tent. Perhaps I am just fond of snow. However did you come up with it?"

Marco reflects on the process, as he has never been asked the origin of his ideas before.

"I thought it might be interesting to have a conservatory, but of course it necessitated a lack of color," he says. "I pondered a great many options before setting on fabricating everything from ice. I am pleased you think it like a dream, as that is where the core of the idea came from."

"It's the reason I made the Wishing Tree," Celia says. "I thought a tree covered in fire would make for a proper complement to ones made from ice."

I know, I know. Spring is arriving in the northern hemisphere and frozen things are at their least wanted at this point in time. Particularly landscapes devoid of color and hue. Well. I will just say this: pollen season; heat stroke. Both of which I have been struggling this past week during a temperature flux of more than 25 degrees upwards. Ice gardens sound exquisite and highly appealing.

"Stories have changed, my dear boy," the man in the grey suit says, his voice almost imperceptibly sad. "There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going one, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister's story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-cclad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? Though perhaps it is a singular wolf who goes to such lengths as to dress as a grandmother to to with its prey."

Widget sips his glass of wine, considering the words before he replies.

"But wouldn't that mean that there were never any simple tales at all?" he asks.

. . . . . . . . . .

"Thank you," she says to Tsukiko as they leave. "I enjoyed that more than I had expected to."

"The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones," Tsukiko replies.

You may find the exchange of Hamlet quotes and ravens on your own, at your leisure. I can't go around distributing all the best bits in one go, can I?

I leave westward for Nova Albion in a week,† and now need to consider my travel reading . . . hmmmmmmmm . . . I did unearth my copy of The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen as adapted by Terry Jones from the Gilliam movie just the other day. That seems suitably frivolous.

† Yes, Nova Albion—of the Tediously Brief Most Lamentable Comedie Of Errors, Or, Friends Don't Let Friends Travel Through The Donner Pass incident! I have signed up to do it again. And this time I shall not make the same mistakes. Instead, there will be entirely new ones—this I promise. I will let you know what they are when I find out, I'm sure.

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defunct chronos
13th-Apr-2013 05:47 am (UTC)
This book has made my commute to and from work on the crowded bus exceedingly more enjoyable than I ever thought it could be. I am refraining from reading your block quotes, however, because I do not want any spoilers. You were completely right, Ms. Morgenstern's writing style is so effortless and engrossing. I have not felt this excited about a book in a long time.
13th-Apr-2013 05:57 am (UTC)
Oh gosh! I did try to pick non-plot involved quotes to pull. The multiple timelines do help in that regard, although you may now know that there is an ice garden contained in a tent, and at some point, it is discussed. Um. Sorry.

I'm glad you're enjoying it though. In the process of copying out these bits and pieces, I've just noticed that everything is written in a non-standard tense - this ties in with the multiple storylines I think, but it also keeps everything very present, one set of imagery being encountered after another. What do you think?
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