Coming Home to the Tuatha De Danann


The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa, #1)The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not often -- in fact, it's been years -- since I've read a book in one sitting. Or, rather, several sittings in a single day. But The Hum and the Shiver so enthralled me that I couldn't put it down until I was done.

I sort of backed into this book. A few days ago, I stumbled across this band, Tuatha Dea, who describe their music as celtic tribal gypsy rock. The band's latest album "Tufa Tales: Appalachian Fae" took as its inspiration the series of books of which "The Hum and the Shiver" is the first. I loved the music. I figured how bad could the books be?

This book lives up to the promise of the music, or perhaps for others, it's the other way around. At any rate, this telling of the prodigal daughter's return to her home and her people, and her struggle to reclaim herself, her heritage and reshape her future, is at turns delightful and intriguing. And though it is often difficult for an author to describe the fantastic in a realistic way, Bledsoe handles this task very well.

Bledsoe's evocation of a people hidden away in the Appalachian mountains, maintaining the Old Ways, also rings true to me. I grew up on the edge of Appalachian culture, and I remember as a 16-year-old driving down rutted gravel roads to a barn or a roadhouse with a 6-pack to sit on a picnic bench and listen to awesome banjo picking and guitar playing. This is the world Bledsoe takes as his foundation, and it is not difficult at all for me to see an Americanized Tuatha in such a place.

I enjoyed reading this book immensely, more than any other fiction I've read in years. But I fully intend to take two days, or even three, to read the next book in the series.

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