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Holly Phillips

Holly PhillipsHolly Phillip‘s collection In the Palace of Repose was nominated for two World Fantasy Awards and the 2006 Sunburst Award. The Burning Girl was nominated for a British Fantasy Award. Learn more at Holly Phillips’ website.

In the Palace of Repose: These stories are uniformly excellent

In the Palace of Repose by Holly Phillips

Holly Phillips is a brilliant prose stylist, and it shows in her first collection of short stories, In the Palace of Repose. These stories, all but two of them original to this volume, range from the joyful to the mysterious to the ominous. They are uniformly excellent. Phillips uses words the way a musician uses notes, playing a resonant, fey tune. It is easy to journey with her into the foreign and fantastic worlds she builds, just as one might follow a gentler Pied Piper.

My favorite story involves just such a journey. In “Variations on a Theme,” Berenice is an English woman who plays the piano with great virtuosity. World War I gives her a chance to study in earnest: the men are off fighting, and the music academy must admit women in order to stay open. But Berenice’s professor refuses to believe in her talent, and forbids her to play Ch... Read More

More by Holly Phillips

Holly Phillips literary fantasy The Burning Girl, The Engine's Child, Magpie KeepThe Burning Girl — (2007) Publisher: Universe-as-fruit was not Cleände’s metaphor. She spoke of worlds, universes, as if they floated within some mythical, mystical sea, an ocean moved by currents and tides that swept worlds together, drifted them apart, to some pattern incomprehensible to the human mind. Dreams, Cleände said, within the skull of God. Sometimes the drifting worlds met. Sometimes they collided, violently; sometimes they drifted together for a time, and parted; sometimes they joined. Her world had drifted for a time within the influence of another — for a long time, Bardo said. Long enough for the powerful of one world to find away to make the crossing to the other, to Cleände’s, where they could do all the things humans might do on a world not their own. There were wars, Cleände had told them. There was conquest.

Holly Phillips literary fantasy The Burning Girl, The Engine's Child, Magpie KeepThe Engine’s Child — (2008) Publisher: From acclaimed author Holly Phillips comes a major work of visionary fantasy in the vein of Jeff Vandermeer and China Miéville. As richly detailed as it is evocative, the vivid prose of this ambitious novel illuminates a lushly imagined world poised on the brink of revolution. Lanterns and flickering bulbs light the shadowy world of the rasnan, the island at the edge of a world-spanning ocean that harbors in its ivory towers and mossy temples the descendants of men and women who long ago fled a world ruined by magical and technological excess. But not all the island’s inhabitants are resigned to exile. A mysterious brotherhood seeks to pry open doorways leading back to the ruined, dangerous homeland. Others risk the even greater danger of flight, seeking new lands and new freedoms in the vast, uncharted sea. Amid a web of conspiracy and betrayal, three people’s dreams will threaten to shatter this fragile world. Scheming Lord Ghar, faithful to lost gods and forbidden lore, plays an intricate power game; Lady Vashmarna, an iron-willed ruler, conceals a guilty secret beneath her noble façade; and Moth, a poor, irreverent novice, holds perhaps the darkest power of all: a mysterious link to a shadowy force that may prove humanity’s final hope — or its ultimate doom.

Holly Phillips literary fantasy The Burning Girl, The Engine's Child, At the Edge of WakingAt the Edge of Waking — (2012) Publisher: With In the Palace of Repose, her debut collection of mostly unpublished work, Holly Phillips accomplished the improbable. The unknown Canadian author received critical acclaim and numerous honors including the 2006 Sunburst Award and nominations for the World Fantasy and Crawford Awards. Her accomplished prose sang with a unique voice, seamlessly blending emotion, insight, and craft. Now, At the Edge of Waking presents her latest tales written with even more depth and range-including a new, never-published story. Portraying human reaction to dire change or extreme circumstance, combining the real intruded upon by the fantastic or the fantastic grounded in reality, Phillips describes the world as it is, as it may be, as something impossible yet entirely acceptable, enthralling the reader with her words.