The Onion Girl (Newford -11) by Charles de Lint

The Onion Girl (Newford #11) by Charles de Lint — 2001 by Tor, Artist: John Jude Palencar

2009 The Onion Girl (Newford -11) by Charles de Lint

The Onion Girl (Newford #11) by Charles de Lint — 2009 reprint by Subterranean Press, Artist:Mike Dringenberg

UK-The Onion Girl (Newford -11) by Charles de Lint

The Onion Girl (Newford #11) by Charles de Lint — 2002-UK by Gollancz (artist insisted)

The Onion Girl (Newford Book 11) (Newford -11) by Charles de Lint, Kate Reading

The Onion Girl (Newford Book 11) audio book,by Charles de Lint, Kate Reading (narrator)

The Onion Girl (2001) — The eleventh book in the Newford series by Charles de Lint

Description Edit

BOOK 11 BLURB—The Onion Girl (2001): In novel after novel, and story after story, Charles de Lint has brought an entire imaginary North American city to vivid life. Newford: where magic lights dark streets; where myths walk clothed in modern shapes; where a broad cast of extraordinary and affecting people work to keep the whole world turning. At the center of all the entwined lives in Newford stands a young artist named Jilly Coppercorn, with her tangled hair, her paint-splattered jeans, a smile perpetually on her lips—Jilly, whose paintings capture the hidden beings that dwell in the city's shadows. Now, at last, de Lint tells Jilly's own story...for behind the painter's fey charm lies a dark secret and a past she's labored to forget. And that past is coming to claim her now. "I'm the onion girl," Jilly Coppercorn says. "Pull back the layers of my life, and you won't find anything at the core. Just a broken child. A hollow girl." She's very, very good at running. But life has just forced Jilly to stop. ~ Goodreads | The Onion Girl (Newford, #11)


Charles de Lint: The Onion Girl (2003) Excerpt

Themes Edit


Settings Edit



  • Mabon: The dream world where Sophie goes to visit her boyfriend
  • L.a.
  • Tattersnake
  • Broken Girl
  • Kickaha
  • Mabon ~ Jilly visited there (Shophie created it in he Dreamworld)

Supernatural / Mythical ElementsEdit

dream world, manifestation of a book, shape shifters, gnome, goblins, elves, gargoyles, , , ,

Characters Edit

Characters What About
Jilly Coppercorn artist Kind and caring woman; former street kid, sexually abused by brother
Sophie Etoile woman with fairy blood travels to the dream world in her sleep but is unwilling to believe in magic all the same. Dating a crow boy.
Wendy St. James One of Jilly's best friends; poet they consider each other soul sisters, and bare a resemblance to each other; Newford art scene
Raylene Carter Jilly's sister left behind by Jilly: bitter, plots revenge; can cross to the otherworld in wolf form
Jeck Crow Sophie's boyfriend lives in Mabon
Pinky Miller Raylene's best friend nymphomaniac with a dangerous streak; tough-as-nails taught her how to fight off her brother with a switch-blade
Joe Crazy Dog shapeshift Native American friend of Jilly's
Cassie Joe's girlfriend uses tarot cards to see things
Toby Childers manifestation of a book character who helps Jilly
Lou Fucceri soft-hearted cop finds Jilly as a kid and helps to rescue her from her life
Geordie Riddell musician Jilly's best friend
Christy Riddell author Geordie's brother; Newford regular;
Mr. Truepenny
Long dreadlocked gnome gnarled little finger play with a string of elf-knots that can call up the wind as her rides his pig Brigwin to the goblin market
Daniel Nurse assigned to Jilly
"Tribe of Small Fierce Womwn" Jilly's phrase trio: Jilly, Sophie, Wendy

To expand the table, right-press on a row of the table or (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add

Cover ArtistsEdit

  • John Jude Palencar —2001-HC & 2002-Pb by Tor
  • Mike Dringenberg (reprint, 2009-pb, Subterranean Press)

~ Source: Bibliography: The Onion Girl

Other ContributorsEdit

Narrator: Kate Reading ~ Source: Goodreads

Publishing InformationEdit

Publishers: Tor Books, Gollancz, Findaway World

  • Hardcover, First Ed., 508 pages, Pub: October 19th 2001 by Tor Books—ISBN: 0312873972
  • Paperback, 512 pages, Pub: August 3rd 2002 by Tor Books—ISBN: 0765303817
  • Paperback, ? pages, Pub: March 11th 2004 by Gollancz—ISBN: 0575073977
  • Paperback, ? pages, Pub: April 1st 2009 by ?—ISBN: 1596062436
  • Paperback, ? pages, Pub: June 1st 2009 by Findaway World—ISBN: 1433262312
  • Audiobook, Pub: by Blackstone Audio—Narrator—Audio Book: Kate Reading

~ Source: Goodreads | Editions of The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

First Sentence Edit

I don't know what makes me turn. Some sixth sense, prickling the hairs at the nape of my neck, I guess. I see the headlights. They fill my world and I feel like a deer, trapped in their glare. I can't move. The car starts to swerve away from me, but it's already too late. ~ Shelfari

Plot Edit

Besides music of the Celtic and alt-country variety, the de Lint experience is rooted in the so-called urban fantasy setting usually populated by musicians, sketchers, writers, and other artistes in which "normal" life somehow quite naturally becomes interchangeable with faerie realms. The fictional town of Newford and its cast of recurring characters exemplify this motif. As the latest volume in the Newford series, The Onion Girl effectively pairs the whimsy of a reflecting fairie spirit world with the horrific lingering damage done to victims of childhood sexual abuse.

The adults in question are Jilly Coppercorn, a former street person turned painter (who has appeared in previous Newford tales) and Raylene Carter, the sister Jilly left behind to escape their brother's sexual assaults. Unfortunately, the assaults don't stop when Jilly leaves, they simply switch to Raylene—leaving the younger sister extremely bitter over her abandonment. Bitter enough to seek revenge when the opportunity presents itself.

Jilly is the Onion Girl:

"Pull back the layers of my life, and you won't find anything at the core. Just a broken child. A hollow girl." While Jilly's childhood has left her psychologically broken, a hit and run car accident leaves her physically broken as well. As Jilly lies paralyzed in a hospital bed, her spirit roams an "otherworld" that, once an inspiration for her paintings, has become a refuge from the reality of her physical condition. The temptation to remain somewhere where she retains mobility (and also youth) is understandably strong. But she cannot escape the need to return to heal her broken body—or an equally broken psyche—in the "World As It Is." While Jilly was rescued from life on the street to make use of a talent that helped provide a meaningful life with a cadre of caring friends, Raylene hasn't been so fortunate. Together with her "tough-as-nails" best friend Pinky, who taught her how to fight off her brother with a switch-blade, Raylene ekes out a marginal existence that starts with running scams involving prospective johns who wind up with considerably less than what they thought they were bargaining for. Then they live off of Pinky's minor success as a porn star. A short period of normality in which Raylene does honest work and develops marketable computer programming skills is shattered by the murder of her boyfriend. But Raylene shares the faerie blood of her sister, and during a period when Pinky is in jail, learns that both she and Pinky are capable of crossing over to the otherworld. In the form of wolves.

And that's where they encounter Jilly, and Raylene embarks upon a plan of revenge on the sister who left her alone and defenseless.

The faerie world serves as a metaphor for the grounding spirituality in which both Jilly and Raylene work out their psychological difficulties. ~ The SF Site Featured Review: The Onion Girl


Goodreads | Charles de Lint Quotes


2002 World Fantasy award nominee ~ Wikipedia


Lists That Contain The Onion Girl (Newford, #11) by Charles de Lint ~ GR

Notes Edit

Essay: On Writing The Onion Girl

Where do stories come from? Normally, from anywhere and everywhere, with too many threads in the pattern of the final weave for me to be able to say this came from here, that from there, except in the most general terms.

But I know where this story came from. I knew from the moment Jilly Coppercorn made her initial cameo in "Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair." I can't say I knew all the specific details of her life, who her friends were, her aches and joys, her losses and dreams, but I knew her. There was never any question in my mind.

I hadn't written more than a couple of stories before I also knew about the events that I later wrote about in the story "In the House of My Enemy." And very soon I also knew the story that would become The Onion Girl, but I put off writing it for years. It felt too much like it would be a closure and I didn't want to stop having Jilly pop up in stories the way she has over the years.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit




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