marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Iron Chamber of Memory

Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright

A strange little tale -- very dream-like in the sense of actual dreams, not the "dreamy" of daydreams.

In the prologue, Hal at his father's funeral finds his mother senile, and some inexplicable events happen.  Then he has to return to England, where he is working on his dissertation.

In the opening proper, he's on the island of Sark, with a woman named Laurel, trying to break into a house.  Flashes back to show him waiting for his best friend Manfred, who recently inherited a house there and is inexplicably late to meet Hal and show him it.  When he meets Laurel, Manfred's fiancee, whom he also did not meet.  They go to the house through the Wrongerwood (actually "Wronger" is a corruption of French "gnawer of bones") and break in and find a chamber -- a rose quartz chamber -- that brings back memories.

It weaves on through the losing and regaining of memories, feature an account of a man pulling a dove from his sleeve; a dissertation on King Arthur; what happened to the relatives who used to own the house; Hal's mistaking some names for common nouns, making a conversation strange; a legend of a saint; dwarfs who sell jewelry; and more.
Tags: fiction reviews: contemporary fantasy

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