Friday, March 28, 2014
Thomas the Rhymer - Ellen Kushner
Thomas the Rhymer is an old tale, based on a real man in medieval Scotland. In the old ballads, Thomas meets the Queen of Elfland, and is taken away by her to her realm, where he lives for seven years. After that, he returns to the mortal world, where he is given the gift of prophecy.
What I really liked about this retelling is that only the time in Elfland is told from Thomas’ point of view. Before and after that time are told from the points of view of his adoptive parents, and the girl he loves, who later marries him. It’s a neat little twist, and a good way to see how his time in Elfland has affected him.
It’s also a good historical retelling. I mean, yes, he does go to Elfland for seven years, but the time in the real world on either side is vivid, and true. I think it actually makes the journey into Elfland all the more interesting, because there is such a contrast. It’s a lovely retelling.