Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Domythic Mythic Fiction

So I'm just going to assume here that all or at least most of us who frequent this blog like to read.  I mean, Domythic style is all about making your home seem more like a story, fairy tale, or myth.  I will go a step further and presume that many of us have a predisposal toward mythic fiction authors and stories, like those of  Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, etc.

But what about Domythic Mythic Fiction?  Sounds a bit repetitive doesn't it?  But it's true...all mythic fiction might be a wonderful genre, but not every book is set in a domestic environment in which the house and its contents and homely magic feature prominently.

I thought it might be fun to recommend a few that do!

I've been on a kick lately for magic realism authors who set their stories squarely in a believably modern world setting, but then twist it just a slight bit to create enchanting results.  Namely the books of Alice Hoffman are like this, although sometimes she has a tendency to put her characters through the wringer a bit more than I can easily handle.  Two books by her I would recommend for Domythic Mythic Fiction are...

Practical Magic

You knew this one would be on the list, didn't you?  The women of the Owens family are so squarely set in their magical home in their magical New England town.

The Red Garden

Don't worry, Game of Thrones fans...this is NOT like the Red Wedding.  This enchanting book has a series of short stories that take you time traveling through the same small patch of land in the same Massachusetts town, as homes are built there, stories are told there.  The common thread is a small garden on the property where only red plants can grow.

A handful of years ago when newly released, I stumbled on the first novel of an author who intrigued me.  Now she has become my enchanting little secret...an ace in the hole whenever a patron at the library where I work asks for a book suggestion.  Her work is very Hoffman-like, but unceasingly optimistic, enchanting and marvelous.  I cannot recommend her highly enough.  Her name is Sarah Addison Allen, and all of her books are utterly Domythic, starting with...

Garden Spells

Stick with me here...if you've read or seen Practical Magic, the plot of  this book might at first seem rather familiar, but Addison Allen makes it entirely her own.  It's the story of, again, a magical house, a magical family, and two sisters who have to learn to deal with their abilities.  The apple tree makes it.  Just read.

The Sugar Queen

This is possibly my favorite book by Addison Allen.  It was with this book that I discovered one of her signature features to her books is to have a non-person character who charms you.  In this book...it's books.  An utterly Domythic house shows up midway through the book too.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

...in this fast read (almost a novella instead of a novel) it's a wallpaper that changes with your mood.

The Peach Keeper

is Addison Allen's newest book, and a little less Domythic than the others, not featuring a home that enchants with magic, but is still worth a read.

I have many more recommendations and will be posting them, but I also want to hear your suggestions too.  What contemporary fiction books have you read that featured Domythic settings and enchanting homey spaces?


  1. Love this post! I adore Alice Hoffman (esp. Practical Magic) and I'm totally checking out Sarah A. Allen asap. The first book I thought of is Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (http://www.amazon.com/Thornyhold-Rediscovered-Classics-Mary-Stewart/dp/1556527934) - a completely lovely, quietly magical book with a witchy house that's incredibly domythically inspiring! I also found Catherynne M. Valente's Orphan's Tale duology and The Wood Wife by Terri Windling quite domythic in setting :).

  2. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff--huge family of magical women, complete with innumerable aunts. Protagonist moves out of family home to run inherited magical junk shop. Very entertaining.

    Sunshine by Robin McKinley--do not be put off by vampires. Mostly domythic because of copious baking. Sunshine is hilariously down to earth. Also both McKinley's re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast, but mostly the second. Because roses.

    Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle trilogy, because...moving castle. Made of chimney pots. Powered by a fire demon. The third book introduces another magical house, too. Conrad's Fate because magical house, complete with Upstairs, Downstairs like social dynamics.

    I'm sure I'll think of more...all my books are packed right now, so I can't look them over.

  3. I love Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman.

    Hummmm I need to go away and try and think of some Domythic mythic fiction now. There is one that I'm thinking of which has a witch in and the other witches didn't like her or were scared of her. I remember she had a really nice house but I can't remember who it's by or what it's called, which doesn't help really. :-)

  4. Just found this and I love it! Right up my alley, and I had never heard of Allen. I just ordered a couple of her books. Thanks!