Poor Monster

Check out my review of a Frankenstein story by Charles de Lint, set in his created city Newford. “Pity The Monsters” is a story that is as much about poverty, institutionalization, and family violence as it is about monsters.

We Shall Be Monsters

Poor Monster

A review of Charles de Lint’s “Pity The Monsters” in The Ultimate Frankenstein (Simon & Schuster Inc., 1991)

By Derek Newman-Stille

I was surprised to see that Charles de Lint set his Frankenstein tale Pity The Monsters in the city he invented – Newford – a city that he generally sets tales of fairies and fantasy in, but in doing so, he illustrated the fantasy quality of Frankenstein tales, and he stuck to areas that he has often evoked in his Newford-centred stories. De Lint used a Frankenstein tale to explore ideas of poverty and homelessness, setting his tale in the impoverished part of Newford generally called The Tombs, an area of abandoned buildings that house squatters of the human and supernatural variety. De Lint explores the interweaving of normal city life with the uncanny, as he generally does in his Newford tales, having characters pulled out of…

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“There’s something about this area – the lake and the land around it – that’s like a haven. I’m not hiding from the skyscrapers and parking lots and the craziness of the rest of the world by living here year round. I’m just, like, getting closer to the real world.”

-Charles de Lint – Mulengro (Orb 2003)

Quote – Getting Closer To the Real World

Quote – Collective Story to Guide People Through The Dark

“In a world as pessimistic as this has become, that collective story is all that’s left to guide people through the encroaching dark. It serves to create a sense of options, the possibility of permanence out of nothing.”

-Charles de Lint – “The Conjure Man” In The Very Best of Charles de Lint.

“I think their stories are what got me writing. First in journals, accounts as truthful as I could make them, then as stories where actuality is stretched and manipulated, because the lies in fiction are such an effective way to tell emotional truths.”

-Charles de Lint – The Fields Beyond the Fields. In The Very Best of Charles de Lint.

 

Quote – Lies in Fiction an Effective Way to Tell Emotional Truths

“People are losing touch with themselves and with each other. They need stories because they really are the only thing that brings us together. Gossip, anecdotes, jokes, stories – these are the things that we used to exchange with each other. It kept the lines of communication open, let us touch each other on a regular basis.”

            -Charles de Lint – The Conjure Man In The Very Best of Charles de Lint.

Quote – Need Collective Stories

“You just have to pay attention. If you don’t you’ll miss them, or see something else – something you expected to see rather than what was really there. Fairy voices become just the wind, a bodach,… scurrying across the street becomes just a piece of litter caught in the backwash of a bus.”

-Charles de Lint – In The House of My Enemy In The Very Best of Charles de Lint.

Quote – Pay attention and see what is really there instead of what you expect to see

“That’s all we are. Just stories. You and me, everybody, we’re a set of stories, and what these stories are is what makes us what we are…. Same thing for a tribe and a city and a nation and a world. It’s all these stories and how they braid together that tells us who and what and where we are. We got to stop forgetting and get back to remembering. We got to stop asking for things, stop waiting for people to give us the things we think we need. All we really need is the stories. We have the stories and they’ll give us the one thing nobody else can, the thing we can only take for ourselves, because there’s nobody can give you back your pride. You’ve got to take it back yourself. You lose your pride and you lose everything. We don’t want to know the stories, because we don’t want to remember. But we’ve got to take the good with the bad and make ourselves whole again, be proud again. A proud people can never be defeated. They lose battles, but they’ll never lose the war, because for them to lose the war you’ve got to go out and kill each and every one of them, everybody with even a drop of the blood. And even then, the stories will go on.”

-Charles de Lint – “Coyote Stories” In The Very Best of Charles de Lint.

Quote – We Are All Just Stories and We Need To Be Proud and Remember Our Stories