My mother loves science fiction and fantasy. Always has, always will. Recently she sent three balikbayan boxes from California stuffed with chocolate, other goodies, and books. Among them was this anthology of fantasy stories chosen by award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm.
The cover and interior art, by Charles Vess, evokes a world that exists in the dusk of imagination, in the reality of mind. Fiction by masters of the craft such as Tanith Lee (“Elvenbrood”), Delia Sherman (“Catnyp”) and Neil Gaiman (the eponymous poem “Faery Reel”) take you to that world.
Holly Black‘s “The Night Market” is a stunner. Written by the New Jersey-born author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, the story is set in Alaminos, Pangasinan, and tells of a clever mortal, who, to save her sick sister, gets the better of an engkanto – or does she? Referencing tree spirits, gayuma, and lambanog, it offers Philippine folklore to a wider audience.
Black says in an author’s note:
…most of the story came from tales of tree spirits that I’d heard from my Filipino mother-in-law and her friends. In fact, one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing “The Night Market” was being able to call someone in the middle of the night and get a description of the weeds in Alaminos or a line of dialogue translated into Tagalog.
Meanwhile, the debate on the usage of the words “fairy” and “faery” continue among etymology enthusiasts. From the preface by Datlow and Windling:
The word faery comes from the Latin fatare (meaning “to enchant”), and over the centuries they’ve been known by many related names such as fee, fai, fey, fai-erie, fayre, faery, and fairy. The latter two names are the ones used today, and either spelling is historically correct… Faerie, in modern usage, is the name of the realm where fairies live, and the faery race is often referred to collectively as the Fey.