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Fred Chappell

Fred Chappell is an author, poet, and former professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997 to 2002. His 1968 novel Dagon was named the Best Foreign Book of the Year by the Académie Française. Chappell’s literary awards include the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Prix de Meilleur des Livres Etrangers, the Bollingen Prize, and the T. S. Eliot Prize. He has also won two World Fantasy Awards.

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A Shadow All of Light: The shadows grow on you

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A Shadow All of Light
by Fred Chappell

A Shadow All of Light (2016) is a collection of linked, chronological stories by Fred Chappell that add up to a full-length narrative if not a seamless novel. Some individual stories are stronger than others, and I would have liked more of a full sense of place, character, and culture, but I enjoyed the underlying magic system, the main character, and how the structure built up over time to a decent climax.

Our narrator is Falco, a country boy from an area of “small, muddy farms” who has run away to the big city (the port of Tardocco) and seeks to apprentice himself to the legendary shadow thief Maestro Astolfo. When they first meet, Astolfo calls Falco a “bumpkin,” a “sneak,” a “hot-blood lazybones,” a “rustic Lumpfart,” an “imbecile,” and a “lunatic.” And of course he takes him ... Read More