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So I asked the raven as he passed by,
I said, "Tell me, raven, why'd you make the sky?"
"The moon and stars, I threw them high,
I needed someplace to be flying."
- Kiya Heartwood, from "Wyoming Wind"

If men had wings and bore black feathers,
few of them would be clever enough to be
- Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (mid-1800s)

it's a long long road
it's a big big world
we are wise wise women
we are giggling girls
we both carry a smile
to show when we're pleased
both carry a switchblade
in our sleeves
- Ani DiFranco, from "If He Tries Anything"

From Locus, January 1998:
Charles de Lint has developed a strong and loyal readership for his urban fantasy novels, delivering a reliable cocktail of likeable characters, myth, folklore, and music set against a counter-culture background of one sort or another. Someplace to be Flying, set in the fictional city of Newford, is no exception.

The book opens in the Newford slums when Hank?, a jazz-loving cab driver, stops to save a woman being violently assaulted in a dark side-street. When her assailant shoots him as he gets out of his cab, the scene changes. In a flurry of darkness and the sound of beating wings, two mysterious young women appear out of nowhere, killing the man and healing Hank?'s wound. It is a moment that will change the world for Hank? and Lily?, the woman he has stopped to save, forever. Slowly they are introduced to a world of magic which has always existed around them, unseen and unknown, one peopled by figures of myth and legend, where trickster Coyote? and Raven? are real, and where it is possible for a young woman to wish her twin sister out of existence.

No brief summary, however, will adequately describe this complicated novel. De Lint introduces his reader to a large, diverse cast of characters plus an entire mythological system he explains only incidentally, and moves those characters across a number of different stages through a number of different times. It's a story that begins with the birth of daughters to a country woman who has slept with one of the Corbae—sort of animal people who have been around since the creation of the world—and how she and her daughters are treated. It is also the story of how Raven? loses the cauldron he used to create the world, and how it must be recovered. And it is the story of how a ragtag group of people living in a violent and rundown world create a community amongst themselves.

Charles de Lint's greatest strength, and also sometimes his greatest weakness, is his obvious love for his characters, and empathy for people generally. The characters in Someplace to be Flying, especially the delightful CrowGirls, are never less than engaging. Sometimes, though, it's hard not to feel that Newford is a little too clean, and people there are much too good. But then, he is showing us people living up to their potential, rather than down to it. And that is what makes de Lint's books rewarding.

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