Guy Gavriel Kay

Ian Riddell iwriddell at
Mon Oct 4 08:41:52 EDT 2004

I'll second Ros's love of Kay. _The Last Light of the Sun_ is sitting  
on my bookshelf, waiting for an appropriately empty weekend when I can  
read it uninterrupted.

I, too, loved _The Fionavar Tapestry_. It has a special place as one of  
the few books that's ever made me cry. It has it's quirks and bits that  
annoy me, but it's always on my reread pile.

One of his "annoying writerly ticks" is massive and constant  

I was also enthralled by _The Lions of Al Rassan_ and would highly  
recommend it.

Good reading . . . in my book anyway.


On Oct 4, 2004, at 3:03 AM, Abe Gross wrote:

>> I have to say that I found his work extremely derivative, of both  
>> Tolkien
>> and the sources, so I don'[t think I would agree with the "not  
>> inclined to
>> copy it" comment. I generally like retellings when they are  
>> interesting
> and
>> do something different, but I found that mostly what Kay did that was
>> different was nastier. I've never been inclined to reread any of it.
>> Robyn
> From what I understand, it was deliberately derivative in one sense,  
> but
> because Kay wanted to examine the underlying myths. To my mind, the  
> Fionavar
> Tapestry trilogy works brilliantly: he takes those underlying myths and
> tropes and makes them exciting and fresh. I think he does do something
> different with them. There were scenes in the trilogy that absolutely
> knocked my socks off emotionally. _Tigana_ also knocked my socks off; I
> found it 'dense' and rich emotionally and deeply moving. I also  
> enjoyed _A
> Song for Arbonne_, set in a kind of pseudo-Provence. _The Lions of
> Al-Rassan_ has no actual fantasy elements but is set in a  
> pseudo-Spain, and
> with the more recent two-book Sarantine Mosaic (_Sailing to Sarantium_  
> and
> _Lord of Emporers_) he started writing fantasy again--I thought those  
> books
> were wonderful. I haven't yet read his latest novel _The Last Light of  
> the
> Sun_ . Kay's trick is to research a culture and history--that of the
> Byzantine Empire in the Sarantine Mosaic--and to use it as a stepping  
> stone
> to create a fantasy society (like an alternative history, almost),  
> usually
> with magical elements also. I think he has a knack of creating  
> realistic,
> subtle, complex characters who face difficult situations and decisions  
> that
> are never simplistically resolved.
> Looks like I'm in a minority here in really admiring Kay, Gili, but I'd
> recommend all of his novels. He can be heavy going at times, and has  
> some
> annoying writerly ticks, but I think he's in the category of "great"  
> writer.
> Ros
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Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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