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Other Books
Over My Head (2013)
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (2013)
Under My Skin (2012)
The Painted Boy (2010)
The Very Best of Charles de Lint (2010)
Muse and Reverie (2009)
Eyes Like Leaves (2009)
The Mystery of Grace (2009)
Woods and Waters Wild (2009)
Yellow Dog (2008)
What the Mouse Found (2008)
Dingo (2008)
Little (Grrl) Lost (2007)
Old Man Crow (2007)
Promises to Keep (2007)
Widdershins (2006)
Triskell Tales 2 (2006)
Make A Joyful Noise (2006)
The Hour Before Dawn (2005)
Quicksilver & Shadow (2005)
The Blue Girl (2004)
Medicine Road (2004)
Refinerytown (2003)
Spirits in the Wires (2003)
A Handful of Coppers (2003)
A Circle of Cats (2003)
Tapping the Dream Tree (2002)
Waifs and Strays (2002)
Seven Wild Sisters (2002)
The Onion Girl (2001)
The Road to Lisdoonvarna (2001)
Triskell Tales (2000)
Forests of the Heart (2000)
The Buffalo Man (1999)
The Newford Stories (1999)
Moonlight and Vines (1999)
Someplace to be Flying (1998)
Trader (1997)
Jack of Kinrowan (1997)
The Ivory and the Horn (1995)
Memory & Dream (1994)
The Wild Wood (1994)
Into the Green (1993)
The Wishing Well (1993)
Dreams Underfoot (1993)
I'll Be Watching You (1992)
From a Whisper to a Scream (1992)
Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood (1992)
Spiritwalk (1992)
Paperjack (1991)
Our Lady of the Harbour (1991)
Hedgework and Guessery (1991)
Death Leaves an Echo (1991)
Ghosts of Wind and Shadow (1991)
Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair (1991)
The Little Country (1991)
The Dreaming Place (1990)
Angel of Darkness (1990)
Ghostwood (1990)
Drink Down the Moon (1990)
The Fair in Emain Macha (1990)
Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon: The Hidden City (1990)
Westlin Wind (1989)
Berlin (1989)
Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon: The Valley of Thunder (1989)
Svaha (1989)
Wolf Moon (1988)
Greenmantle (1988)
Jack the Giant-Killer (1987)
Ascian in Rose (1987)
Yarrow: An Autumn Tale (1986)
Mulengro: A Romany Tale (1985)
The Harp of the Grey Rose (1985)
Moonheart: A Romance (1984)
The Riddle of the Wren (1984)
De Grijze Roos (1983)
Trader
Trader
Orb

Trader
Tor

Excerpt

The hardcover edition of Trader was published by Tor Books in January, 1997; the mass market edition was published in February, 1998, along with the hardcover of Someplace to Be Flying. Macmillan published the hardcover U.K. edition in August, 1997.

Trader is set in Newford and environs and deals with an instrument maker named Max Trader who wakes up one morning in somebody else's body—that of Johnny Devlin, a local smalltime conman. Max's body is inhabited by Johnny, who finds the change both welcome and convenient. The novel explores the question of identity: to what degree our identity relies on our own physical body, and how others' perceptions of us affect who we really are. Trader will reacquaint readers with some of their favourite Newford characters and introduce a few new ones along the way.

For those who want to read a few pages, check out the Tor Books site where an excerpt of the first few chapters is now available. The same section was also published in the World Horror Convention Program Book in May, 1996.

Reviews
From Booklist, American Library Association, January 1997:
De Lint is a master at world building, at creating the apt image, and at making grippingly suspenseful a story in which the fate of the characters may have no cosmic significance but is vitally important to them and their closest friends. It is hard to imagine urban fantasy done with greater skill, even by de Lint himself.

From The Globe and Mail, March 1997:
de Lint skillfully handles Trader's coming to terms with his new existence, drawing a realistic portrait of a man suddenly robbed of his identity and the physical trappings that come with it. Although the loss of self evokes terrifying possibilities and primal fears, de Lint has written a contemplative book, realistically triumphant, that suggests life is meant to be lived, not merely worn.

From The Montreal Gazette, June 1997:
a work of great imagination, beauty, and inspiration and should be read by anyone who feels either too restless or too comfortable in his lifestyle.

From The New York Review of Science Fiction, September 1997:
De Lint possesses a broad-shouldered storytelling skill which moves the narrative steadily, relentlessly forward.

From British Fantasy Society Bulletin, November/December 1997:
De Lint weaves complicated patterns with the thoughts and lives of his characters before he brings them in contact, and anywhere near a conclusion. He draws such deep and heartfelt characters that think and breathe like people rather than pages. Recommended thoroughly.

James Schellenberg:
With every work of fiction set in Newford, de Lint just gets better and better. Memory and Dream, the first Newford novel, was a fine work in its own right, but Trader is leaps and bounds ahead in writing and plotting. Trader was followed by Someplace to Be Flying, which might be yet more superior, but perhaps only on second reading. The latter novel is complex, maybe even too much so, but Trader grabs the readers' sympathy and attention immediately.

Max Trader is a luthier, and his guitars are famous for their quality. He has not been lucky in love, but apart from that, his life is well in order. One morning, Max wakes up in someone else's body, and slowly comes to realize that the person whose body is inhabiting now has his body. Who has he traded bodies with? Johnny Devlin, a man who has made a complete mess of his personal life in every way. No job. He treats the women in his life like dirt. Avaricious, lazy, and a little malevolent. Johnny makes the best use he can imagine of Max's life, which mainly consists of ruining it. Max desperately tries to fix what he can of Johnny's life to make it bearable, and ends up homeless and almost completely abandoned.

Trader is filled with interesting characters, and I find it amazing how de Lint can capture the voices of so many people. One of his devices is a split between first person and third person narration, just as in many of his short stories. In this book, we get Max's point of view from first person, but de Lint alternates that with chapters written in third person. These other sections give us a sense of the community of Newford in almost the same way as a collection of short stories like Moonlight and Vines might. Here, de Lint stitches the differing perspectives together into one coherent narrative, no mean feat. When the struggle between Max and Johnny comes to a fevered pitch, Max is not really alone, no matter how much he might think so.

De Lint is a perceptive writer. He has a knack for the small details that make up a person's life, and he also captures the varying opinions of his large cast of characters. Here's a rant from Jilly, who has been discussing relationships with Tanya. Tanya has asked Jilly if she would like to be in a relationship, and Jilly replies:

"'Well, sure. Who doesn't? But the point is, you're still a worthwhile person if you're not. What gets to me is the perception that's pushed at us from the minute we're born: that we need a man to give our lives meaning. Never mind the women's-rights movement. Never mind plain common sense. The perception's still there. The propaganda's waiting for us wherever we turn.'" (181)
De Lint can also capture a feeling quite precisely when he's writing from Max's perspective. Here's a nice example: "A feeling of such dislocation comes over me that I'm afraid to stand up. It's like climbing the stairs of a stopped escalator—it's too disorienting" (247). Max has reason to be feeling disoriented at many stops along the way.

Trader is a great book, well-written, more approachable than Someplace to Be Flying, and fascinating from beginning to end. Highly recommended.

Smithbooks Canada:
Trader by Charles de Lint is a contemporary urban tale from one of Canada's most accomplished fantasy writers. Max Trader, a solitary, responsible guitar maker, and Johnny Devlin, a chronically unemployed drunk, inexplicably wake up in each other's bodies. While Devlin gleefully inhabits his suddenly stable new existence, the now penniless, friendless Trader begins a journey that will take him to a land of dreams and spirits to confront his own deepest fears.

SF Chronicle, June 1997:
Max Trader is a successful businessman, living a very pleasant life until he wakes up one morning to discover he has traded places with Johnny Devlin, a dissolute, bankrupt and entirely unsavory person who seems perfectly satisfied with their altered circumstances. Trader obviously can't convince anyone else of the truth and Devlin's past misdeeds make it difficult for him to make friends. Living on the street, he eventually convinces one young woman of the truth and sets out to reclaim his own life. Trader's reconstruction of his life is brilliantly told in this, just the latest of de Lint's fine contemporary fantasies.

Editions
Tor Books; hardcover, 1997 Macmillan, UK; hardcover, 1997
Tor; mass market, 1998 Pan; mass market, 1998

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