Memory and Dream
Isabelle is an art student at Butler University. Kathy, her roommate, is a writer. Kathy always talks about shaping your world to fit your idea of it. Isabelle sees reality and doesn't believe in reshaping the world.
While Isabelle is walking through town she sees an odd man. She quickly sketches him. He sees her, looks at the picture, takes it, then introduces himself. He is Vincent Rushkin, one of the foremost artists of his time. She had thought he was dead. He invites her to study under him. Isabelle jumps at the chance to study under the master.
Soon she is busier than she can imagine. She doesn't want to give up her classes at school. She keeps one or two a semester as she studies with Rushkin. Every morning she is in his studio learning his techniques, his magic. Kathy worries about her yet sees the progress Isabelle is making. Kathy hopes to sell her writing one day, and extracts a promise for Isabelle to illustrate one of Kathy's books.
Isabelle meets John Sweetwater, an Indian who looks just like the man she imagined in one of her paintings. She falls in love. He worries about Rushkin's effects on her. They quarrel and split. She continues to work with the older painter. She is slowly learning his magic. She is also discovering it really is magic.
This novel, published about ten years ago, starts in the early 1990's, then jumps back and forth between the 90's and the later 1970's and early 1980's. De Lint weaves the current world with a fantasy world that fit together believably. Isabelle is a many layered character. The hermit she has become in the 1990's is due to the events from her college and Rushkin years. De Lint's fantasy world is so subtly wrapped into normal every day happenings that it is believable. Isabelle and Rushkin are at the crux, with Kathy involved as the balance for Isabelle. The author makes you want to look around for numena from that other world. You're sure they have to be out there. This is a fascinating book.
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