Reader Q: You explore magic realism with Miquel’s ghost in Accidental Heretics. Do you intend more of that in the series? [excerpt below]
A: I’m a Norwegian-Dane-Anglo mutt, raised in the upper half of North America, so I have no experience with magic realism outside South American literature. Personally, I think Tomás has PTSD. I have no explanation for why certain other people see what Tomás does. Perhaps his memory is faulty under stress.
Anyway, Giles Tremlett provides the best read on the real ghosts of Catalunya in Ghosts of Spain.
From “Bone-mend and Salt”: Chapter 14: Quo s’ho Creu?
Tomás de Morella y Cyprus skulked through the alleys of the Valerós castle-village, the linsey-woolsey scribe’s robe he’d stolen in Toulouse scratching through his linen undershirt.
He’d been in the mood for a good street fight ever since he and Chrétien left Toulouse, wanting more chances to test whether he’d recovered his speed and agility. Up here in the back-hills of nowhere, he thought, people attack you for no reason, and you can’t fight back. Your mortal enemy appears at dinner, and—
“You have to sit and swallow watered-down wine and tall tales.” Miquel appeared at his side, chuckling, looking sprightly and joyous. Young. Dressed in the studded black-leather cuirass of a Moorish mercenary, a paid warrior with more honor than money.
“It was a mistake to come here.” Tomás didn’t turn his head to look. It was no surprise to see his dead father almost everywhere for the past year, still telling him how to think, how to move, how to plot and plan.
“You’ll find this the most interesting place for your hunt.” Miquel stretched and yawned. “And there’s dicing in the armory.”
“I know. I heard at dinner.”
“You’ll let Chrétien get there first? And then you spend tonight playing the foolish gambler? Like I taught you?”
“Go away. You have nothing more to teach me. You’re dead.”
“Not so dead that I don’t enjoy seeing people deceived. It brings back such good times.”
Art Credits: from the British Library, the Rochester Bestiary, England (Rochester?), c. 1230, Royal MS 12 F. xiii, f. 29r.
Text (c) 2012 E.A. Stewart. All rights reserved.