Friday, May 29, 2015

Tanith Lee, 1947-2015

For many years Tanith Lee was my favorite writer. I believe that I still own more books by her than any other author. (She was quite prolific.) Her first published novel, The Birthgrave, is about a woman who doesn't remember who she is: a story with lots of resonance for a transgender person in denial.

Some call her writing purple prose - as one of her characters remarks, "She'd never use one adjective if twenty-six would do." All I can say is that for me it really hits the spot. Moreover, she wrote queer and gender-bending characters before they were mainstream. In later years she made a deliberate effort to include racial diversity. Her fairy tale retellings are a revelation.

These days, my favorite books of hers are the Scarabae vampire novels. The third one ends on a cliffhanger. I gather that she only ever wrote one chapter of the fourth one. The rest is still out there.

Daughter of the Night is the complete Tanith Lee bibliography website.