I’ve been on a Guy Gavriel Kay marathon lately, catching up on his books that I haven’t read yet. Last night, after I finished reading The Sarantine Mosaic duology, I headed over to Bright Weavings to check out what the brilliant people there were talking about. My eyes strayed over to the Tigana forum, and click! My utter and absolute love for Tigana, which I reread for the nth time recently, eclipsed anything I had planned to say about Sarantine. It is by far my favorite book by GGK, and if other fans would disagree, I’d say we are lucky to have more than one masterpiece by this wonderful author to choose from.
Tigana. It has made a mark upon my soul, though it is one of wonder and not loss like Alessan’s. I realized just now how very fortunate I’ve been — the first fantasy books that I ever read were The Lord of the Rings, followed by Tigana. After such brilliant first encounters, how can I not love the genre? Since then, I’ve gone on to explore its different forms, from the Christian allegories of C.S. Lewis and the “psychomyths” of Ursula K. Le Guin to the anthropomorphic adventures of Richard Adams and the dark urban fiction of Neil Gaiman. But I always come back, again and again, to where I began.
Peter S. Beagle once said of The Lord of the Rings that it “bears the mind’s handling”. The same can be said of Tigana. My pleasure in it grows after every rereading, and it is with a strange wistfulness that I turn the last page. Every time, there is always something new to discover: an exhilarating turn of phrase, a perfectly rendered moment where one can pause for a while and drink in the mood, a subtle hint about a character’s motivations that previously went unnoticed. Kay respects his readers and writes with the belief that they are more intelligent and thoughtful than pop culture suggests, and this assumption results in a rich, multi-textured work that not only delights but challenges as well. It not only bears, but invites and rewards the mind’s handling.
Some GGK fans have gotten together online to discuss actors they would like to cast in screen adaptations of Tigana and the others. It is with both excitement and apprehension that I wait to see if this will happen. On one hand, Robert Lieberman’s disastrous television adaptation of Le Guin’s Earthsea series is a cautionary tale, but on the other hand, Peter Jackson’s masterful handling of the LOTR has shown us that it can be done. It will be a gift to the world if they do it right, so that another generation of readers can discover the joy and the heartbreak of Tigana.
This isn’t a real review. This is just my undisguised attempt to get people to read books that I would like to talk about with them. So go. Read it. I’ll wait. 😉
The real review, by the way, is here. 🙂