I think you don't thrive in the gypsy world of being a musician if you don't like to travel to new and interesting places.
—Connie Kaldor, singer/songwriter
I love reading. My idea of luxury is a good book, a good chair and time to read. Okay add a lake in summer and some iced tea with my sons cleaning the house at the same time and I know I'm dreaming.
Guy Gavriel Kay is a writer I have been reading for many years. He never disappoints. I was a chapter in to his novel Under Heaven and I realized that I was reading a novelist at the top of his game; power, love and treachery set in the Tang Dynasty of eighth century China.
It starts with Tai, a man who has chosen to spend the two year mourning period of his father's death by burying the bones of the dead on a remote battle field.
Towards the end of his two years the empress of the neighbouring country honors his sacrifice by giving him 250 of the Sardian "heavenly horses", an unfathomable gift for the time.
The interweaving story that starts with that gift takes the reader through fate and magic, greed and revenge, honour, poetry, love and desire. The strong female characters that are intertwined with the story are not inconsequential. They are tied into the tale.
Guy Gavriel Kay is a master storyteller and it is the quality of his writing, the depth of character and the evocative sense of place that he creates for us, that takes it beyond its plot.
There were lines I stopped and reread because I wanted to savour them one more time before carrying on. I was drawn into the world he created for me.
I think you don't thrive in the gypsy world of being a musician if you don't like to travel to new and interesting places. Guy Gavriel Kay has taken me to a few of those through his books.
All of his books have a good story to them but this book really stayed with me. The pacing of it, and the time and place that it took me to, was a world I was reluctant to leave. I found it hard to put down.
I have bought Under Heaven four or five times because I keep handing it on to others. From my 22 year old son to my sister-in-law in Saskatchewan, it has many converts.
Because he is so often put in the fantasy fiction genre, he is sometimes dismissed as not writing "real" literature, as if somehow imagination should only be used in certain ways.
Under Heaven and Guy Gavriel Kay go beyond catagory. He is a wonderful writer, and dang it, he's Canadian!