Stepping from the Shadows by Patricia McKillip

Let me preface this by saying I'm a big fan of Patricia McKillip. I want to own ALL of her books. I own most of them except maybe a couple of the new ones since I haven't gotten around to it yet and a couple of the really old hard to find ones.

This is an early work by McKillip – a novel, not fantasy. I'm going to keep it so my collection can be complete, but sadly this was not my cup of tea. While McKillips lyrical, dreamlike prose is wonderful in a fantasy landscape it doesn't translate well in general fiction – I guess it can be seen as mystic realism but I don't think it worked well. The novel follows the growth of Francis, a young girl which an incredible imagination who moves around with her family from place to place. As she ages she sees or think she sees a mystical figure she calls the Stagman who follows her on her journey. My biggest problem with the book is it didn't feel like it went anywhere (well no where that interested me, it just seemed like random life experiences of a young girl/woman). It was also confusing – if I didn't read the cover blurb, I couldn't tell you why Francis moved around or who the other seemingly major character in the book was (not the Stagman, the girl who grew up with Francis). That's how vague things were. Too much to figure out, no reward for doing so. I LOVE McKillip, just not this one. Maybe I'm just oblivious to the message (I think something to do with her fears of men, but I couldn't care enough about that, and there was no destination in the plot, just meandering).

An aside – I love the cover artwork! Very dreamy, seventies look and nice detail.

4 out of 10 for me.

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