Illyria by Elizabeth Hand
Viking, New York, 2010
Borrowed from the library.
Winner of the World Fantasy Award.
A wonderful fantasy novel by one of my favorite authors. Maddy and Rogan are first cousins, members of a large group of extended families living in Yonkers in the 1960’s. There is theater in their background, struggles within their families, and an opportunity to try out for parts in their school production of Twelfth Night.
Maddy and Rogan are also very much in love. Illyria is a finely wrought tale of first love and blossoming sexuality between two young people in a “taboo” relationship. Beneath it are subtle layers of mystery and magic.
Elizabeth Hand is brilliant at creating atmosphere and tension using very direct, simple language and dialogue. She evokes the dark side without the reader knowing it. Suddenly you’re there, in a place so fey it is as if you stepped into a fairy ring, fallen down a rabbit hole or walked through that wardrobe into a land of snow and ice. But Hand’s world is not Narnia. There is no magic remedy for these two young people.
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