More in magical realism

Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke and the John W. Campbell Memorial awards for Best Science-Fiction Novel

Song of Time begins with an old woman discovering a half-drowned man on a Cornish beach in the furthest days of this strange century. She, once a famous concert violinist, is close to death herself — or a new kind of life she can barely contemplate. Does death still exist at all, or has finally been extinguished? And who is this strange man she's found? Is he a figure returned from her own past, a new messiah, or an empty vessel?

Filled with love, music, death and life, and spanning the world from the prim English suburbs of Birmingham to the wild inventions of a new-Renaissance Paris to a post-apocalyptic India, Song of Time tells the story of this century, and confronts the ultimate leap into a new kind of existence, and whatever lies beyond...

Praise for Song of Time:

“MacLeod’s quiet, meditative novels and stories have been winning critical acclaim for years, and Song of Time sees him at the height of his powers. At the end of a long and eventful life, celebrated violinist Roushana Maitland orders her memories before she passes from the world of the flesh to a virtual afterlife. When she finds a mysterious stranger washed up on the beach of her Cornish retreat, he facilitates the process of remembrance. In flashback chapters we follow Roushana’s turbulent life through the cataclysmic events of the 21st century, taking in the deaths of loved ones, marriage to a conductor-entrepreneur, and a final heartbreaking revelation, Song of Time is a slow, sensitive first-person account of what it means to be human and vulnerable, and confirms MacLeod as one of the country’s very best literary SF writers.” —The Guardian
‘Simply magical’ Elle

The story of Venezuela told through the adventures of kindly giant, Octavio. Struggling to conceal his illiteracy, he embarks on a transformative journey that unearths his life's purpose.

“His body might have been hewn from a tree trunk; his heart would last for a hundred years. And, like a tree, he was one of those men who die standing up.”

A chance meeting in the local pharmacy transforms the life of lonely, illiterate Octavio. He begins reading lessons and finds love and happiness for the very first time. But Octavio’s destiny lies elsewhere, as he will discover on a journey into the Venezuelan rainforest.

Shortlisted for the Goncourt first novel award, this short but epic fable is both a hymn to Venezuela and the magical story of an extraordinary hero.

Reviews

‘Could almost be a chapter from One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Sunday Times

‘A masterfully composed poetic and picaresque fable’ Le Figaro

‘A quite irresistible picaresque novel, in the vein of García Márquez’ Nouvel Observateur

‘(a) whistle-stop tour of a remote, seldom-touched-by-literature, and fully intriguing, but ultimately unfathomable, land’ The Book Bag

‘This short novel is impossible to put down (…) felt immersed in this Latin American world just the way I was when I first read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Paris Diary

‘We see Bonnefoy in an ode to his homeland and a fable like tale of what was and maybe a feeling that is lost . This is under hundred pages long a perfect evening read.’ Winstonsdad’s Blog

‘A wonderful debut’ Libération

‘Bewitching from the start’ Le Point

Existence has a billion faces, each one an universe coexisting with our own. In one such universe, a man named Rafe has learned to walk between the worlds. Rafe can walk through the shadows of the worlds. Anything that he can imagine, he can find in the worlds that might be. During his wandering, he has met other Walkers. Some of these have been called gods by our ancestors. Odin, Zeus, or Enlil, Brahma or Kali, all of these awoke to the truth of infinite worlds, and learned to travel among the worlds with purpose. The world lines encompass all possibilities and all possible worlds. There are an infinite number of worlds in which humans, and some who are nearly human, live. Beyond these worlds are the ones that twist the mind into madness, worlds where the rules are not the familiar ones that we expect. Far from the places of humanity, there are places where, in all the universe, there are no places to stand, where even the stars have never formed, and some in which the hydrogen that fills our universe can never be. Far beyond these worlds are places so incomprehensible that the eye refuses to see there, and the ear cannot hear there, places that are beyond madness, where the mind dissolves with the merest experience. In this place which is neither dark nor light, where no rationality or order is possible, there are things that live beyond time and space, things that hunger for all things. The Scourge is from this darkest place, and it slowly intrudes into the shadows of order, bringing madness to both Man and world. It falls to the Walkers in Shadows to unite, and to seal the way against the Scourge, before the stain of the Scourge's touch can twist all worlds everywhere into madness.
Dealing with adult and controversial themes, Daughters of the Dance is a beautiful, moving saga of three generations of strong women immersed in the art of the dance and in their profound relationships with high-powered men driven by oil, wealth, war, trade, religious beliefs, nature, female submissiveness, and sexual boundaries. It is a story of uncharted survival amid three wars in continental Europe during the first half of the twentieth century and its inevitable expansion to the Netherlands Antilles, especially the Sephardic-Ladino community of Curaçao, and to the Western Hemisphere. Daughters of the Dance is a metaphor for a method the “daughters” use to enhance their spiritual being. Ayana, the introductory character, expresses a dominant human condition—the pain of sadness, guilt, and shame—and asks, “How do we survive without love?” In the words of Rumi, a Persian Sufi, “Whosoever knows the power of dance, dwells in the Ineffable Effulgence” (i.e., a nonreified Presence), they discover their primordial selves—originated, born, formed, and unfiltered. At a deeper level, the characters encounter lo real maravilloso americano (magic realism) in raw, latent, and ever-present states of being in elegant timelessness. In a way, Rumi pointed the way, “What you seek is seeking you." Daughters of the Dance invites the reader to grasp the mystery that lies behind each personality. Words and pictographs fail to fully explain experience. Hence, the novel challenges beliefs so that readers can seek out the experience of beauty and joy amid the perils of unrest that may either fester or heal. To borrow Rumi again, “Dance when you are perfectly free and enjoy each step along the way.” Happy is the culture that can dance!
In I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking the strange and the mundane collide. These are stories of strange experiences set in familiar places, and of familiar experiences set in strange places. Many of the pieces in I’m Fine take place close to home, in suburban neighborhoods, or rural communities. The settings are conventional, yet something unexpected, or even magical, is occurring. In one piece, a couple speculates about random objects that appear without reason in their backyard. In another, neighbors try to figure out if a local meth dealer is keeping a live tiger captive on his property. In other pieces, it’s the setting that’s fantastical, but the characters’ reactions that remain ordinary, like in the titular story where a journalist lost at sea and hunted by a mythical ocean creature admits to struggling with loneliness and isolation in much the same way he does even when he’s safe at home.

Although they are not directly linked by any specific character, the pieces in this collection are bound through reoccurring imagery and a shared theme of protagonists in emotional peril. There are unexpected appearances and disappearances, movement of inanimate objects, the search for something lost, the finding of something unusual. There are prophesies, dreams, unidentifiable creatures, and environmental catastrophes on a scale both large and small. There are action figures and octopuses, sullen teenagers and missing cats. At their core, these stories are imbued with mystery, oddity, humor, and empathy. They each stand on their own, but mean considerably more when read together.
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