I want to call in sick, miss work, avoid appointments, and hide from family and friends when I get a book in my hands that I’ve been waiting a long time to read. This doesn’t happen as often as you may think. I find I’m usually a very patient person. I’m good at waiting. But when the end has arrived and my new book is in my hands, it’s all I can do to keep from running like a football player, head down, book cradled protectively, towards my destination.
The urge to take my new book and go is an itch between my shoulder blades that gets worse the longer I wait. And today, I’ve been waiting all day to read the book that’s in my bag. It’s been the longest day ever because I know that luscious story waits for me at the end of the work day. I haven’t even cracked it open (carefully, so as to not break the spine, of course) because I know if I did, I’d be lost. There’d be no retrieving me from the bright weavings of this long-awaited tapestry.
I first encountered Kay’s work back in secondary school when I was consuming Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
A bookseller handed me the complete Fionavar Tapestry when I bemoaned the lack of the next Jordan book. That bookseller blew my mind.
The Fionavar Tapestry isn’t my favourite novel of Kay’s. It may be my least favourite, actually, but when you have a least favourite among masterpieces, it doesn’t paint a fair portrait of what is still an exceptional, epic story. The Fionavar Tapestry is great; it’s just that I love all the other novels he’s written more.
Whether drawing on the history of Provence in France, the Tang and Song Dynasties of China, or Viking, Anglo-Saxon, and Celtic cultures, the stories are rich with realism, of both place and character, and unique in their depth and breadth. With so much of our world worked into his stories, Kay’s fantasy is spectacular.
…which is why it’s hard to be here tonight. I know River of Stars is waiting for me, and after waiting for it since Kay’s last book, I’m counting down the minutes until I’m off tonight (and just this once, for just this sort of book, I’m all for putting sleep on the backburner).