Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gossamer Axe: Fantasy Fiction by Gael Baudino

I've been noodling around reading a lot of books that I missed over the years; not reading a whole lot that is brand new. 

This one took me by surprise. I've been passing over it on my friend's speculative fiction shelves for years now, then for some reason picked it up the other day and got hooked a couple of chapters in. I include it here because to my delight, the main character is a follower of the goddess Brigit. Brigit herself doesn't appear in the book, but it is lovely to have our hero talking about and to her now and then.

Gossamer Axe
Gael Baudino
Roc (1990), Paperback, 352 pages

Christa is a bisexual woman who escaped from the Celtic Otherworld 200 years ago, and is still trying to figure out how to free her inamorata from that unchanging, sterile place. She puts aside her harp and picks up an electric guitar to achieve her aims.

Certain elements are predictable: the antagonists, particularly, are uninspired. But the way Baudino handles the musical aspects, the world of rock and how it is for women, magic, cultural distress (for Christa), community and friendship--it's textured, fascinating, very well done.

As for authenticity (for the ancient Celtic part), she gets a lot right. My main complaint is that the Celts didn't celebrate the solstices and equinoxes as she has them do--Christa really is more modern Wiccan than ancient Celt in some ways--but regardless, the book holds together nicely. It is what it is.

A very pleasant surprise.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy Mildred Downey Broxon's ancient/modern Celtic fantasy: Too Long a Sacrifice (Orbit Books) 1983. 

Weird. Blogger will let me link to Broxon but not Baudino. Ah, well. You know how to Search.

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