No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

#42: Day by Night -- Tanith Lee

A fairly early Lee novel, SF rather than fantasy, populated with gorgeous characters (many of whom, I have to say, are exceedingly shallow and manipulative).

The novel opens with Vel Thaidis, waiting beneath a burning sun for her brother Velday and his scheming friend Ceedres Yune Thar -- with whom Vel Thaidis is secretly and humiliatingly in love. Ceedres learns her secret, and constructs a humiliating scheme to exile her to the slums and take the family fortune for himself --

-- Cut to the second strand of the story, in which Vitra Klovez, purveyor of entertainments to the huddled masses of the planet's dark side, attempts to weave her cunning plot around her family and friends: in particular, her brother Vyen and his philanthropic friend Casrus.

And so the two strands intertwine: Vitra brought low by her own creation, Vel Thaidis noble in adversity, Velday engagingly feckless, and Casrus profoundly uncertain of the fictionality of the sunlit world that empty-headed, dishonest Vitra claims to have created.

There's enough glaze and glitter over the formal structure, the echoes and mirrorings and harmonies, to make this an engaging read, though I found the twisty ending oddly reminiscent of mid-period Andre Norton.

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