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The Onion Girl [Hardcover]

Charles de Lint
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 83.81 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

April 1 2009
In novel after novel, and story after story, Charles de Lint has brought an entire imaginary North American city to vivid life. Newford: where magic lights dark streets; where myths walk clothed in modern shapes; where a broad cast of extraordinary and affecting people work to keep the whole world turning.

At the center of all the entwined lives in Newford stands a young artist named Jilly Coppercorn, with her tangled hair, her paint-splattered jeans, a smile perpetually on her lips--Jilly, whose paintings capture the hidden beings that dwell in the city's shadows. Now, at last, de Lint tells Jilly's own story...for behind the painter's fey charm lies a dark secret and a past she's labored to forget. And that past is coming to claim her now.

"I'm the onion girl," Jilly Coppercorn says. "Pull back the layers of my life, and you won't find anything at the core. Just a broken child. A hollow girl." She's very, very good at running. But life has just forced Jilly to stop.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

Life is truly an act of magic in Canadian author de Lint's triumphant return to Newford, his fictitious North American city, with its fascinating blend of urban faerie and dreamworld adventures. When Jilly Coppercorn becomes a victim of a hit-and-run driver, her happy life as a popular Newford artist comes to a screeching halt. Half of her body, including her painting hand, no longer works properly, and the prospect of a long recovery, despite supportive friends, depresses her. Her dreams - the only escape she enjoys - connect her to friend Sophie's dreamland of Mabon. Another friend, of otherworldly origin, Joe Crazy Dog, calls it manido-aki, a place where magic dwells amid mythic creatures and e-landscapes far away from the World As It Is. Joe also knows that's where Jilly must heal what has broken inside herself to speed recovery of her physical body. Complications ensue when her friends discover that someone broke into the artist's apartment after the accident and destroyed her famous faerie paintings. De Lint introduces yet another intriguing character, the raunchy, wild and furious Raylene, as dark as Jilly is light, who deepens the mystery. Is she Jilly's shadow self, or a connection to a past Jilly would rather forget? This crazy-quilt fantasy moves from the outer to the inner world with amazing ease and should satisfy new and old fans of this prolific and gifted storyteller, whose ability to peel away layers of story could earn him the title "The Onion Man." (Nov. 1).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jilly Coppercorn, a talented painter whose works reveal the hidden life of the magical Canadian town of Newford, lies in a hospital, the victim of an apparent car accident. As her friends gather around her, Jilly's own story comes to the fore, filled with the mysteries and secrets she has hidden from herself as well as from others. Continuing his series of novels set in a modern world that borders on a dimension of myth and legend, de Lint (Moonheart) highlights the life of one of his most popular characters. A master storyteller, he blends Celtic, Native American, and other cultures into a seamless mythology that resonates with magic and truth. A good selection for most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal favorite! March 1 2004
I stumbled across this book in my local library, and it was the title that caught my attention more than anything. Charles de Lint is a new author to me, and with his writing has opened up a whole new world of magick and intrigue.
Our tale begins in Newford with the main character, Jilly Coppercorn, becoming a victim of a hit-and-run. Lying in a hospital bed, confused and paralyzed, she escapes to the world of dreams. "The Onion Girl" takes you on one hell of a ride, as it's told from the eyes of Jilly, and her younger sister, Raylene. Having run away from a life of abuse and pain at a young age, and leaving Raylene to suffer as she once did, Jilly begins to regret not going back now that Raylene has resurfaced in her life.
Two sisters - one dream world. One doesn't want to share it, and is determined to go to extremes to ensure that it belongs to her alone. The other just wants to know the baby sister she left behind.
Charles de Lint has done an amazing job with "The Onion Girl," and it is a favorite of mine due to the way he writes, and describes things. Things get slow here and there, but the intensity of Jilly's story makes it worth the slow spots. Definitely worth 5 stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A great fulfillment, a sad disappointment - Feb. 29 2004
By EmBee
Fans of Charles de Lint's voluminous stories of Newford all know and love Jilly Coppercorn. Here, at last, is a novel about Jilly. I was so excited, I scraped together some emergency money and bought it in hardback! A great fulfillment for all of us true blue fans, to learn more and spend time with this charming, magical artist and Friend to All.
Its okay that some bad things happen to Jilly - she's a survivor, after all, and some great things happen to her, too. But the sudden apperance of a long-lost sister with a monster grudge is a little... convenient, isn't it? This wholly new side to Jilly's story leaves the reader feeling just a little jerked around.
The novel's a bit schizophrenic, too, the way we vault back and forth between the disconnected sisters, and forward and backward and sideways in time. Then, when at last the story is twined together, it... kinda sucks.
If you're a de Lint fan, and a fan of Newford, you really shouldn't miss this book. Everybody in Newford is affected by what affects Jilly, and so everyone's story is advanced and changed by this book. Just don't expect one of his best, or you're in for a sad disappointment.
If you're new to the Charles de Lint oevre, please don't start with Onion Girl. Really, he's written much, much better stuff. Try Forests of the Heart for a fantastic novel also set in Newford, or dive in to his short story collection, starting with Dreams Underfoot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If You Know Newford... Sept. 4 2003
In _The Onion Girl_, Newford artist Jilly Coppercorn suffers a devastating personal tragedy that forces her to re-evaluate her life and face things in her past that she'd rather not. As she is virtually the glue that holds Newford together, she is aided by a mind-boggling cast of characters, both this-worldly and otherworldly.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down, but I ended up having mixed feelings about it when I was done. On the one hand, DeLint's writing was a beautiful as ever, his depictions of the joys and terrors of the Otherworld as richly realised, his characters as real and his forthright pictures of some very ugly human experiences as affecting.
On the other hand, there are certain things I found a bit off. The cast of characters is SO enormous -- at times it seems that everyone who's ever appeared in a Newford story shows up at some time or another -- that it's a little hard to keep track of; I certainly wouldn't recommend reading this book unless you've at least read one or two of DeLint's short story anthologies. Towards the end, the message got just a little overbearing. At the same time, I didn't like the implication that only magic could really heal Jilly; I would have liked to see her take some real world steps to deal with her baggage. Maybe deciding to get therapy isn't magical, but I really think she could use it.
I did like that everything between Jilly and her "nemesis" wasn't completely resolved and that there was still some tension between them at the end. I also liked the fact that this ending wasn't a happy-ever-after kind of thing--that people underwent irreversable changes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New fantasy fan falls for DeLint! Jan. 8 2003
By Cyrana
I stumbled upon Charles DeLint's "The Onion Girl" while doing some research on fantasy books for a college project. Being new to the genre, and reluctant to read fantasy, I had no idea what to read. The book's title and the cover art by John Jude Palencar enticed me, and once I started the book, I could not put it down.
The story's main character, Jilly Coppercorn, is struggling to heal from an accident. The circumstances that lead to her accident are shrouded in mystery, leaving her to find the clues and piece them together, a difficult task when one's bones are broken. Lying in her hospital bed, she learns to "cross over" into another world she has only heard of. Jilly experiences a catharsis as a result of her other wordly adventures, and she makes a surprising choice that heals her body and soul.
DeLint's prose is inspiring, as his descriptions make the natural supernatural, and the extraordinary accessible to us mere mortals. His blend of urban streets, the wilderness, and dreamscape create a seamless trip through dimensions. The characters are quite likeable, and are varied in personality, from policeman to artist to shapeshifter.
"The Onion Girl" quieted any preconceptions I had about fantasy writing, and I would recommend this book highly to those who are curious about the genre, but don't know where to start.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that truly inspires
If you're a devoted Charles de Lint fan and you truly care for the fantastic, fun character that is Jilly Coppercorn then I don't expect you to walk away with disappointment. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2011 by Book Beasely
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT
The Onion Girl was my first Delint book I read, and I enjoyed it emmensly.

Jilly was written wonderfully, and the writing gave cause to the reader to start looking... Read more
Published on June 2 2006 by Book Pixi
5.0 out of 5 stars i couldn't put it down
if you have read forests of the heart you'll love this. i had walked by it for months and kept picking it up thinking about buying it so finally I did. and I loved it.
Published on Feb. 25 2003 by Lady Nixie Cerrwerden
5.0 out of 5 stars Jilly's Story...Get a box of Kleenex
Finally, Mr. DeLint shared Jilly's story. I have been reading his books for many years, and I have come to dearly love Jilly Coppercorn. It was a treasure to read her story. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars new to De Lint... and loved the book
I like fantasy literature, and I definitely liked this book, which I received for Christmas. I'm going to look for Charles De Lint next time I'm at the library or the bookstore. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by Serena F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Goth Newford
While not my favorite of Charles deLint's books, I enjoyed this very much. I especially liked the relationship between the sisters, as it parallels the troubles that my sister and... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2002 by K. B. Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars Suicidally Depressing
First, you must understand that I am a serious Charles De Lint fan. I go out of my way to rummage through every dusty bookshop I can find for original copies, and have a special... Read more
Published on July 30 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have found De Lint
Just finished the book last night. This is the first De Lint book I have read so I was not disappointed like some reviewers, having no expectations. Read more
Published on May 25 2002 by Robin A. Alexander
2.0 out of 5 stars a fantasy fan's opinion
De Lint has a wonderful imagination. He is a talented writer who carries you into another realm with his words. And makes you question your beliefs about dreams and fairies. Read more
Published on May 12 2002 by Jillian Perry
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