I was introduced to these books a little more than a decade ago, by a very dear friend who knew it was the sort of thing that would quench my thirst for well-written and beautiful fiction that would stick with me. He knew what lay at the heart of me and fed my need for rich worlds that come to life on the page where you are transported to the lush forests and gardens on Flat Earth and the dark glistening home of Azhrarn in the Underearth city of Druhim Vanashta that is made up of gems and dark metals. He knew I needed stories that stick with you long after you've put the book down, that inspire and encourage the imagination. These books feel like "home" to me and they always will and that's why they are still my favorites.
The stories within the pages of these two volumes are vividly depicted and when I read them, I'm easily sucked into the world of the Flat Earth and fall in love all over again with its inhabitants. Tanith Lee has such a way of using description that the very thought of reading the stories make me emotional and eager to flip through those pages again. I don't reread a lot of books, but I have reread these.
The stories are mythical/biblical fantasy meshed together, following the Lords of Darkness in their journeys among humans, all taking place between the three layers of the Earth at the time- Upperearth, Flat Earth, and Underearth.
Often these are short tales, but all inter-connected, explaining the trickery played upon humans in epic fairy tale fashion, but sometimes these stories tell too, the tricks the Lords play upon themselves and each other while they are busy wreaking havoc and cruelty upon the mortals of the Flat Earth.
I find these romanticized grown-up fairy tales dark, erotic and intriguing adventures that don't always have happy endings, and yet they are oddly satisfying, even when I'm moved to weeping.
One of my most favorite tales of all is The Parable of the Cat, which you can read at the link provided. I'm a cat person, through and through, and this story is just a small part of the whole that moves me unlike any other story I know. I can't reread it without sobbing like a child and it makes me wish, with some youthful part of me, silly as it may sound, that it were true.
If you've never read a Tanith Lee novel, I would definitely recommend these volumes. Finding the set as a whole is rare, so you might want to check with a library to see if they have copies.
What are your favorite genres? If you're a writer, like myself, do you tend to read within your genre, or do you also enjoy stories outside of your "norm?"
Have you read anything by Tanith Lee?