Magic Street by Orson Scott Card

 

FantasyMagic street Magic StreetOrson Scott Card; Del Rey/Ballantine Books 2005WorldCatOdd things are happening in the affluent black neighborhood of Baldwin Hills. Mack Street is a foundling who was adopted by a widow in the neighborhood. When he was newborn one of the neighborhood boys found the baby in a plastic grocery bag by a drainpipe in the run off area behind the homes. Cecil took the baby the Miz Smitcher, a nurse at the hospital. Miz Smitcher keeps the baby, eventually adopting Mack.

Mack roams the lower part of the Baldwin Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. Although he is Miz Smitcher’s son, he is in an out of all the homes on the street. He truly is a child raised by the neighborhood. Mack has an unsettling ability. He has “cold dreams” that reveal other peoples’ deepest wishes. He quickly learns to repress them because if he completes the dream, the wishes come true with a bizarre twist.

There was the young girl who loved to swim. Her deepest wish was to be a fish. One night she and Mack dreamed her into the water. Her father found her drowning in his waterbed. She was oxygen deprived, damaging her brain. She lived in a wheelchair after that. Or there was the girl who dreamed she wanted her father home with her all the time. He suffered an accident on the job. He stayed home after that in constant pain. She still didn’t get the attention she really wanted.

Then one day Mack spots a house out of the corner of his eye. It is a skinny house in the yard between two other homes in the neighborhood. It can’t be seen straight on. But if Mack watches it out of the corner of his eye, he can walk up and enter it. The strange homeless man in the house doesn’t answer Mack directly. Instead he taunts Mack into going to the back yard. Mack’s life is about to get stranger.

Has Orson Scott Card been recognized as one of the masters of the writing field yet on par with others like Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury? He definitely is in my mind. He doesn’t stay with one type of speculative fiction. He writes space opera and war (Ender’s Game), fantasy (Seventh Son), apocolyptic (Folk of the Fringe) and…and…and… Now he adds modern urban fantasy to his list of storylines.

Magic Street occurs in current day Los Angeles. The neighborhood is a vital part of the story. Two other men, Ceese Tucker and Word Williams round out the main characters. The three are all needed to bring this new fairy tale twist to life. At times the story gets convoluted, especially when explaining the fairy king and his motives. Yet it is full of life and interesting characters. Mack Street is too good to be true. We find out why later in the book. Magic Street should be on every fantasy lover’s must read list.

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