by Robert Holdstock
Review by John Clarke
Holdstock's brilliant novel Mythago Wood describes a mysterious forest in which the collective human subconscious brings to life figures and beasts from mythology. The sequel Lavondyss sets out to describe the concept of the mythological "archtype," the heroic figure who repeatedly appears in similar legends from recent memory to humanity's dimmest past. In this strange story, a young girl named Tallis journeys to Lavondyss, the spiritual center of the forest, in order to rescue her trapped Uncle Harry. Dreams, legends, and ancestral memories are recurring themes, and the action is likewise confused, dreamlike, and heavy with symbolism. Tallis spends the entire book trying to piece together the meaning behind everything which has occurred around her.
I found Lavondyss interesting but very difficult reading. Many ideas were not presented with clarity and directness, and the plot develops too slowly. In the month it took for me to read this book, I forgot many of the ideas and much of the mood which Holdstock so painfully developed.
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