starlady: (mokona crossing)
Mitchison, Naomi. Travel Light. Northampton, MA: Peapod Classics, 2005. [1952]

I have something of a brain-crush on [personal profile] rushthatspeaks - I have never gone wrong reading something out of one of rush's reviews, and Naomi Mitchison is no different. Travel Light caught my eye in the dealers' room at WisCon and I actually paid for it with a check, how 20thC, and it is appropriately charming and timeless.

Travel Light is the story of Halla, who is born a princess but whose father the king is quite happy to put her out when his new queen says so and is rescued by her nurse from Finmark, who transforms into a bear and takes the infant Halla to live in the woods. Halla is eventually raised by dragons and finds herself under the eye of the All-Father, whose commandment to wanderers is to travel light - and so she does, through time and space and history and myth and legend. I am not sure that I have the words to describe exactly the nature of Mitchison's magic, but she has a very good grasp on the ways in which past habits of thought by people were different (and I say this as a historian), and she has a real gift for the telling description, the right phrase. In the end nothing quite works out as I might have expected, but everything works out in a very sensible way.

I really dislike when short books garner long reviews, and so this is a short post. Suffice it to say that it is as charming and lovely as the Small Beer Press guy swore to me that it was as I wrote out my check, and suffice it to say that I think most people who like fantasy would like this book, and suffice it to say that I will be very much reading more Naomi Mitchison.