Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Wandering Unicorn by Manuel Mujica Láinez

Not about a unicorn - it's historical fantasy set during the crusades, narrated by the fairy Melusine. The unicorn of the title is Aiol, Melusine's descendant, who carries a unicorn lance. The fantasy elements seem almost beside the point, though I enjoyed Melusine's reminiscences on her life as an enchantress and patroness of architects, and her comments on esoteric subjects such as the relationship between fairies and angels.

But really it's a novel of medieval life, of Aoil (who Melusine falls hopelessly in love with), his father and sister, and the fall of Christian Jerusalem. The characters feel medieval - as they rarely do in fantasy - and the language, in my translation at least, has an archaic feel. All of which made it a slow, not easily digestible read.

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