web site hit counter The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars

Availability: Ready to download

Once upon a time there was a kingdom that lived in darkness, for the sun, the moon and the stars were hidden in a box, and that box was hidden in a sow's belly, and that sow was hidden in a troll's cave, and that cave was hidden at the end of the world. Once upon a time there was a studio of artists who feared they were doomed to obscurity, for though they worked and they w Once upon a time there was a kingdom that lived in darkness, for the sun, the moon and the stars were hidden in a box, and that box was hidden in a sow's belly, and that sow was hidden in a troll's cave, and that cave was hidden at the end of the world. Once upon a time there was a studio of artists who feared they were doomed to obscurity, for though they worked and they worked, no one was interested in the paintings that stood in racks along their studio walls. Steven Brust's fantasy novel The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a tale of two quests, of two young men who are reaching for the moon. And the sun. And the stars.


Compare

Once upon a time there was a kingdom that lived in darkness, for the sun, the moon and the stars were hidden in a box, and that box was hidden in a sow's belly, and that sow was hidden in a troll's cave, and that cave was hidden at the end of the world. Once upon a time there was a studio of artists who feared they were doomed to obscurity, for though they worked and they w Once upon a time there was a kingdom that lived in darkness, for the sun, the moon and the stars were hidden in a box, and that box was hidden in a sow's belly, and that sow was hidden in a troll's cave, and that cave was hidden at the end of the world. Once upon a time there was a studio of artists who feared they were doomed to obscurity, for though they worked and they worked, no one was interested in the paintings that stood in racks along their studio walls. Steven Brust's fantasy novel The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a tale of two quests, of two young men who are reaching for the moon. And the sun. And the stars.

30 review for The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carolee Wheeler

    This book struck me as one of the most hackneyed, self-aggrandized depictions of what it is like to make art. I read all the glowing reviews and I still wonder what I missed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary Robinette Kowal

    This is one of my favorite books. The book interweaves a Hungarian Fairy Tale with a story of an artist who is trying to decide if it is time to pack it in. It captures the creative process perfectly. I tend to pick this up and reread it when I'm feeling creatively blocked. This is one of my favorite books. The book interweaves a Hungarian Fairy Tale with a story of an artist who is trying to decide if it is time to pack it in. It captures the creative process perfectly. I tend to pick this up and reread it when I'm feeling creatively blocked.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    I really wanted to love this one, since the original idea and unique structure of the book was so appealing. The story explores the lives of 5 artists who rent studio space and attempt to define the value of art. The author interweaves the past, present, and reflections of these artists with a Hungarian folk tale about three Gypsy brothers on a quest to place the sun, moon and stars into the sky in exchange for half the King’s land and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Sounds great, but unfortuna I really wanted to love this one, since the original idea and unique structure of the book was so appealing. The story explores the lives of 5 artists who rent studio space and attempt to define the value of art. The author interweaves the past, present, and reflections of these artists with a Hungarian folk tale about three Gypsy brothers on a quest to place the sun, moon and stars into the sky in exchange for half the King’s land and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Sounds great, but unfortunately, it just didn’t have enough energy for me. I found that the narrator’s theories on art were sometimes interesting but often pretentious, and the descriptions of the paintings were not detailed enough to become visual. The narrator of the story, Greg, is an unlikable character with unbendable opinions based on … ? He is creating a painting of Uranus, Apollo, and Artemis that seems to have direct ties to his personal struggle, but it is just not well developed. The Gypsy, meanwhile, is using cunning deception to attain the sun, moon and stars, which I suppose mirrors Greg’s opinion that many artists sacrifice ‘true’ art in search of fame and fortune. While many of Greg’s ideas were thought-provoking, after a while, the philosophies of this 20-year-0ld, lack-luster artist living off of his girlfriend felt more like an attempt to impress by critiquing famous art with knowledge he doesn’t possess. The narration becomes irritating and contrived, especially when he types the word ‘Bones?’ at the end of each chapter … a reference to the folktale when the Gypsy repeatedly asks this question of a troll to find out if he is still listening or has fallen asleep. This gimmick alone tempted me to close the book several times. Eventually, it was the lack of enthusiasm and Greg’s intolerant ideas about art that dissolved the studio, and also my interest in this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David McGrogan

    This is a breezy and entertaining read, and I did find myself becoming emotionally invested in the trials and tribulations of the central character and his friends, but ultimately I can't shake the impression that this book is a (noble) failure. The interjection of a section of a Hungarian fairy tale towards the end of each chapter is an interesting device - and at times I felt like I wished I had just been reading a book of Hungarian fairy tales if that's what they're all like - but I'm not sur This is a breezy and entertaining read, and I did find myself becoming emotionally invested in the trials and tribulations of the central character and his friends, but ultimately I can't shake the impression that this book is a (noble) failure. The interjection of a section of a Hungarian fairy tale towards the end of each chapter is an interesting device - and at times I felt like I wished I had just been reading a book of Hungarian fairy tales if that's what they're all like - but I'm not sure what precisely it was supposed to achieve. If it was meant to be a metaphor for the hero's struggle for artistic meaning it was too obvious, and if it was something else then for me it was too subtle, because I have no idea what else it could have been. I also think framing the whole thing around art, discussions of art, and artists was perhaps a mistake. It is EXCEPTIONALLY hard to make a verbal description of a painting interesting, and while Brust is a decent writer, he isn't up to the task; this means that entire sections of the book are dead space - failed attempts at getting you, the reader, to imagine something that you find it very hard to imagine. Meanwhile, there is a lot of extremely naive discussion of art and art history in there which simply doesn't seem credible: the main characters are supposed to be in their late-20s (I think) and art school graduates, and professional artists, but their conversations and the musings of the central character read more like the kind of debates teenagers would have when first venturing into the world of art criticism. This is likely because Brust wanted the book to be accessible, but it gives much of the contents a rather tinny and unrealistic feel. Finally - and I don't think it is a spoiler - what was the whole "Bones?" thing about?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nancy O'Toole

    Greg is a struggling painter. Three years ago he and a few friends decided to rent an art studio so they could create art together, but little has come out of it. The group of friends now have to decide whether they want to set up an art show, or close down the studio for good. Meanwhile, Greg is creating a large painting that depicts Uranus, Apollo, and Artemis. His struggle is mirrored in a Hungarian folktale called "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars." The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is part of Greg is a struggling painter. Three years ago he and a few friends decided to rent an art studio so they could create art together, but little has come out of it. The group of friends now have to decide whether they want to set up an art show, or close down the studio for good. Meanwhile, Greg is creating a large painting that depicts Uranus, Apollo, and Artemis. His struggle is mirrored in a Hungarian folktale called "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars." The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is part of Teri Windling's Fairy Tale Series, and the third volume I've read (the first two being Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, and Patricia C Wrede's Snow White and Rose Red). One thing that makes this book different that the others is that it is not a fantasy book, but straight fiction. It is also not a fairy tale retelling. Each chapter tells a part of the story of "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars," but the main storyline of Greg is not a retelling in the same way that Tam Lin or Snow White and Rose Red was. Much like Tam Lin, which mainly focused on college life 1970s, the emphasis here is being an artists in the 1980s, and the fairy tale is secondary. The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars has a very unique set up. It's separated into chapters, and then each chapter has six subchapters. The fifth subchapater is always part of the Hungarian folktale, "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars," while the rest of the sections are split between Greg's reflections on art and life, and the story about the studio. When you get down to it, the writing itself of this book is quite good. It reads very smoothly, and at times can be quite beautiful. Any dialogue between Greg in his friends feels realistic and is handled very well. Unfortunately, when you take a step back and look at the story as a whole, flaws begin to appear. Since the subchapters are divided into reflection, folklore, and plot, the novel ends up feeling very disjointed. Due to this lack of focus, the novel doesn't really go anywhere until you reach the last fifty pages. The folklore, although really enjoyable to read, has weak ties to the main storyline, making it feel superfluous. The sections where Greg reflects on art and life are interesting, but begin to feel repetitive after a while, which contributes to the fact that the story doesn't progress properly. One thing that doesn't help is the fact that Greg can be a very unlikable narrator, and some of his theories feel quite flawed to me. Although it's stated pretty clearly that Greg's opinions are not to be seen as gospel, it didn't help me enjoy the book any more. The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, with it's complex format and ambitious goal to tie a Hungarian folktale into a seemingly unrelated story about a young artist, is conflicted read. Although it has it's strengths, one can't help but feel as if ended up missing it's mark in the end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dev Null

    What do you call a book that's a mix of Hungarian folklore and a peek into the lives of fictional modern artists? I got as far as "fiction", and "very very good"; you're on your own after that. This was short (~200 pp - and I mean that as a compliment not a complaint) excellently-well-written, and full of interesting characters. It made me feel like I might start to understand some of what it is to be an artist, without all of that tedious learning to practice an art first. It doesn't really go a What do you call a book that's a mix of Hungarian folklore and a peek into the lives of fictional modern artists? I got as far as "fiction", and "very very good"; you're on your own after that. This was short (~200 pp - and I mean that as a compliment not a complaint) excellently-well-written, and full of interesting characters. It made me feel like I might start to understand some of what it is to be an artist, without all of that tedious learning to practice an art first. It doesn't really go anywhere much, but it doesn't feel like it needs to. The link between Hungarian folklore and modern art is almost nonexistent - it really just seems like two unrelated stories written down next to each other at times - but they compliment one another somehow in a way that pleased me, but which I find difficult to pin down. (And given Greg's struggles in the book with describing what "art is", I suppose that's a bit ironic.) For some strange reason, after finishing this last night while barely still awake, I dreamt a different ending to it. I'm not sure what that ending was (though I think it might have involved Greg dying, which seems like a cheap gimmicky idea now, by the light of day) but at the time it seemed like the most brilliant thing ever. I'd half composed a rapturous review (in my dream) exhorting everyone to read it but not to read any reviews, for fear of spoiling the ending. The real ending is much less climactic, and much less tacky, but I still heartily recommend this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lyssa

    The main character of this book is the bitchass “Sonny” from the movie Xanadu before he meets Olivia Newton John. Do yourself a favor and watch that instead. The soundtrack is great and it’ll drown out all the whining found in this book

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mika

    I thought this book would be really interesting. I was wrong. Alright, well, that doesn’t capture all of it. The story was told in a very unique manner, I liked hearing about the narrator’s artistic creative process, and interspersed in the plot was a Hungarian folk tale. So maybe you can see why I thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, I never liked the narrator — he was every bit as cocky as the other characters claimed — and the folk tale was included just for the sake of including a I thought this book would be really interesting. I was wrong. Alright, well, that doesn’t capture all of it. The story was told in a very unique manner, I liked hearing about the narrator’s artistic creative process, and interspersed in the plot was a Hungarian folk tale. So maybe you can see why I thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, I never liked the narrator — he was every bit as cocky as the other characters claimed — and the folk tale was included just for the sake of including a Hungarian folk tale. I didn’t see a real connection. The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, was that the whole book was spent talking about this painting the narrator was working on, and we never got to see a picture of it. It was described in so much detail that I was sure the author would have gotten someone to actually paint it for him. Forget the reader’s imagination, sometimes you just need to show the reader what you mean. And this was one of those times. Maybe I’m just not artistic enough to have enjoyed the book. Y’all are welcome to it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This book was OK. It provided amazing insight into the artistic process and how artists see the world. The main character was complex and flawed. The author showed him as highly insightful while still really blind to his own faults (aren't we all?), which made listening to his inner dialog more interesting. Unfortunately, the plot (if there is one at all) isn't compelling. The Hungarian folk tale woven through the modern day tale is far more fascinating. I kept waiting for them to intersect, but This book was OK. It provided amazing insight into the artistic process and how artists see the world. The main character was complex and flawed. The author showed him as highly insightful while still really blind to his own faults (aren't we all?), which made listening to his inner dialog more interesting. Unfortunately, the plot (if there is one at all) isn't compelling. The Hungarian folk tale woven through the modern day tale is far more fascinating. I kept waiting for them to intersect, but I really didn't see that happening. It is possible I missed it. Anyway, worth reading, but only if you don't have something you are more excited about to read first.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is a weird book, more of a collection of essays on art, the creative process, and collaboration than fiction. Nothing much happens: a starving artist in a struggling studio starts and finishes a painting, the studio holds a show that might be their last hurrah. I can identify with some of the essays (especially the ups and downs of creating something!), but the narrator is kind of a jerk / snob, and I'm not sure the parallel chapters of Hungarian folktales work particularly well or shed a w This is a weird book, more of a collection of essays on art, the creative process, and collaboration than fiction. Nothing much happens: a starving artist in a struggling studio starts and finishes a painting, the studio holds a show that might be their last hurrah. I can identify with some of the essays (especially the ups and downs of creating something!), but the narrator is kind of a jerk / snob, and I'm not sure the parallel chapters of Hungarian folktales work particularly well or shed a whole lot more light on the artistic process. And of course, this being a book, you can't see the finished painting that has been described in such detail. Sigh.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melanti

    This one felt like two separate stories - first, the one of a struggling artist as he goes through life learning, making friends, trying to keep his studio open, and trying to pay his bills solely through his art. The second, the one of three gypsies trying to put the sun, the moon and the stars into the sky. While I really liked both stories, I don't really understood how the modern one connected with the fairy tale. I saw more parallels between the painting Greg was working and his current even This one felt like two separate stories - first, the one of a struggling artist as he goes through life learning, making friends, trying to keep his studio open, and trying to pay his bills solely through his art. The second, the one of three gypsies trying to put the sun, the moon and the stars into the sky. While I really liked both stories, I don't really understood how the modern one connected with the fairy tale. I saw more parallels between the painting Greg was working and his current events than I did between Greg and the gypsies.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Every

    Am I too dumb to understand the genius of this book and do I miss out on some amazing, deep and spiritual meaning? Probably. Does that mean I can't think Greg was a stuck-up ass and should learn to respect others preferences? Or that no one (NO ONE) should decide to just not get a job while your girlfriend supports you financially, because you prefer to sit on your ass and do hardly anything all day? And that whatever this book was trying to say got completely lost because there is no plot and t Am I too dumb to understand the genius of this book and do I miss out on some amazing, deep and spiritual meaning? Probably. Does that mean I can't think Greg was a stuck-up ass and should learn to respect others preferences? Or that no one (NO ONE) should decide to just not get a job while your girlfriend supports you financially, because you prefer to sit on your ass and do hardly anything all day? And that whatever this book was trying to say got completely lost because there is no plot and the two parts have nothing in common? No. I absolutely think that. (Bones?)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is another one I read back in the eighties (just post-college), and then it's sat on my shelf for all these years waiting for me to come back to it. The novel is a part of a series of "Fairy Tales" by various authors, and I can't remember that I ever did get around to looking up any of the others. Like the world of art that much of the story is about, this is a book that I think a reader can either love or hate -- the main story revolves around Greg, an "classical" artist (in oils), who co-o This is another one I read back in the eighties (just post-college), and then it's sat on my shelf for all these years waiting for me to come back to it. The novel is a part of a series of "Fairy Tales" by various authors, and I can't remember that I ever did get around to looking up any of the others. Like the world of art that much of the story is about, this is a book that I think a reader can either love or hate -- the main story revolves around Greg, an "classical" artist (in oils), who co-operates a studio with four friends of various styles and levels of talent. Greg is a little snobbish, but very dedicated to his art and it's clear he has a passion for it, as well as for his friends and his girlfriend, who has been bankrolling his bohemian lifestyle for the last four years. Greg alternates between working on a giant canvas, studying karate, and trying to deal with life outside of art as well as with his friends in the studio. Framing this is the Hungarian fairy tale "The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars," telling how the world began in darkness, and the great taltos (I believe the pronunciation is something akin to "tahltosh") being/trickster who managed to fight his way to retrieving the box which contains the world's lights and how he placed them in the sky. The two tales alternate with each other and compliment each other, even though on the surface there's nothing at all similar about them. Rather like looking at a painting, a great deal of appreciation lies in the eyes of the reader (viewer); and if there is an artist in your world, then I highly recommend they read this book. It does hit at a visceral level anyone who has ever created and looked with doubts at their own creation. No one writes stories like this better than Brust, who makes the words dance and the visuals appear on the page just like his artist character (I can't really call Greg a "protagonist," although technically I suppose he is one) does on canvas. Brust is amazing at writing first-person stories, keeping the reader tight in the head of that viewpoint while still somehow being able to give a pretty good idea of how others view him -- and, even more, makes their voices each sound different from the other (one could say Greg "sounds like" Vlad, but it's just the sarcasm, I think). I don't think I've given anything away in this review. If I have, let me know and I'll hide it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    My biggest problem with this book is that I'm done with it already. It's a great book. I almost always enjoy Brust's work with framing devices, and this book about five painters is very well-framed. This book is also slightly about a Hungarian folk tale, which Brust may or may not have made up. But, he's Hungarian, and it's a folk tale, so even if he made it up, it's still a Hungarian folk tale. This book lacks so many of the trappings I like (travel, wizards, space, lasers, life-and-death situa My biggest problem with this book is that I'm done with it already. It's a great book. I almost always enjoy Brust's work with framing devices, and this book about five painters is very well-framed. This book is also slightly about a Hungarian folk tale, which Brust may or may not have made up. But, he's Hungarian, and it's a folk tale, so even if he made it up, it's still a Hungarian folk tale. This book lacks so many of the trappings I like (travel, wizards, space, lasers, life-and-death situations, space wizards), but it has things I love (solid characters who talk to each other like real people should, dragons, thoughtful introspection, a guy with a mustache, subtlety). One of the things I like best about Steven Brust is that he doesn't need to make a book long in order to make it good. In this, he carries on the tradition of Roger Zelazny and some of the other authors who revealed the pulp novella as an art form. He tells good stories and doesn't waste your time (unless you're reading one of the Khaavren Romances. Then he's gleefully wasting your time, laughing at you because of it, and hoping that you laugh, too). This book, however, almost makes me wish he wrote longer, so I could keep reading it. Almost.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bryn (Plus Others)

    Reading this book was a very interesting exercise in many visions simultaneously. I read it once in my late teens or early 20s and liked it all right but was disappointed it was not a fantasy novel; I read it a few times more in my 20s and early 30s and each time found it spectacular, one of the best novels I had ever read in my life, so insightful and funny and wise and fascinating. And now here I am in my forties, having read much more broadly than the last time I picked up this book, and it i Reading this book was a very interesting exercise in many visions simultaneously. I read it once in my late teens or early 20s and liked it all right but was disappointed it was not a fantasy novel; I read it a few times more in my 20s and early 30s and each time found it spectacular, one of the best novels I had ever read in my life, so insightful and funny and wise and fascinating. And now here I am in my forties, having read much more broadly than the last time I picked up this book, and it is -- well, a very young work, obvious and thinly spread and too simple for the themes it tackles. Yet the younger ones in our system still found it marvelous and rich and exciting, so after deliberation we are giving it five stars, with the suggestion it is a book best read at the right time in one's reading life. I believe that Brust has grown immensely as an author in the 30 years since he wrote this, and I look forward to my plan to revisit his Vlad series so that I can watch that growth as it proceeds over the years.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    I love the way the author interweaves the stories in this book. He writes of creating art as only an artist can. His chosen tools may be words on a page/screen instead of the paint and canvas, charcoals, pen and ink, or photography his characters use in this book, but the vulnerabilities necessary to create art no matter which medium is used are the same. He lays those emotions and insecurities bare as well as the struggles inherent in the creation of art. Around this plot is woven the tale of h I love the way the author interweaves the stories in this book. He writes of creating art as only an artist can. His chosen tools may be words on a page/screen instead of the paint and canvas, charcoals, pen and ink, or photography his characters use in this book, but the vulnerabilities necessary to create art no matter which medium is used are the same. He lays those emotions and insecurities bare as well as the struggles inherent in the creation of art. Around this plot is woven the tale of how the sun, the moon, & the stars were gathered and placed into the heavens done in the style of a Hungarian folk tale. The afterword gives insight into the forms of such stories and the oral traditions still kept in that part of the world. This is a book about a lot of things: art, relationships, folly, adversity, destiny, love, jealousy. In short, this is a book about life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Honestly, this fell flat for me. The layering of folk story over sort of hum-drum monologue about art and creativity was clever, but I just never settled into it. It felt forced, kind of self-aggrandizing. The characters felt real, but also just boring. I felt like this would have been an amazing conversation to have with a friend who was comparing their artistic struggle to an old folk tale, but I didn't care about the characters at all and they're not people I would ever want to hang out with. Honestly, this fell flat for me. The layering of folk story over sort of hum-drum monologue about art and creativity was clever, but I just never settled into it. It felt forced, kind of self-aggrandizing. The characters felt real, but also just boring. I felt like this would have been an amazing conversation to have with a friend who was comparing their artistic struggle to an old folk tale, but I didn't care about the characters at all and they're not people I would ever want to hang out with. To be honest, if their studio did fail I wouldn't have been all that surprised. Only redeeming point was the folk tale itself. I love myth and I find their truths to be universal, affecting, layered; but the other storyline (if it could even be called that, more like a vignette) just didn't make sense to me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    I find Steven Brust's ability to write stories in modern settings as well as he does fantasy to be downright startling. The characters in this story aren't saving the world, just dealing with life, growth, and change, which fans already know are topics he is very comfortable with. This story doesn't have the emotional punch of Tekla because it doesn't focus on a romantic relationship, but I was drawn into the story quickly and consumed the relatively short book in a couple of days. I find Steven Brust's ability to write stories in modern settings as well as he does fantasy to be downright startling. The characters in this story aren't saving the world, just dealing with life, growth, and change, which fans already know are topics he is very comfortable with. This story doesn't have the emotional punch of Tekla because it doesn't focus on a romantic relationship, but I was drawn into the story quickly and consumed the relatively short book in a couple of days.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Unfortunately this book just wasn't my cup of tea. It never hooked me. I know he tried to be philosophical and make you think but I struggled to get past my opinion that it was all a contrived attempt at the view of an artist. Unfortunately this book just wasn't my cup of tea. It never hooked me. I know he tried to be philosophical and make you think but I struggled to get past my opinion that it was all a contrived attempt at the view of an artist.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    I’d say read it if you make art, as an artist I enjoyed it a lot

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I’d say read it if you make art, as an artist I enjoyed it a lot

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Canaday

    Read library copy. So awesome that I bought my own copy to read again and again. Book inspired me to work on my own writing more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    Stephen Brust uses a Hungarian folktale to mirror a contemporary story of courageous young artists and the act of creation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt Dubois

    Thought this was a good book 20 years ago. Now, it is interesting, but pretty slow and awkward. ok as a short story, but think there are much better books available.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    Returning once again to Steven Brust, I am now choosing to review not one of his Vlad Toltos or Dragaera books going on to a much deeper book by this very creative writer. There are two editions of this book that I know of. The current Orb edition and a much older Ace edition. Quoting from the back’s of the books: Once Upon A Time there was a kingdom, that lived in darkness, for the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars were hidden in a box … which was hidden in a sow’s belly … which was hidden I a troll’s ca Returning once again to Steven Brust, I am now choosing to review not one of his Vlad Toltos or Dragaera books going on to a much deeper book by this very creative writer. There are two editions of this book that I know of. The current Orb edition and a much older Ace edition. Quoting from the back’s of the books: Once Upon A Time there was a kingdom, that lived in darkness, for the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars were hidden in a box … which was hidden in a sow’s belly … which was hidden I a troll’s cave … which was surely hidden at the end of the world. And … Once Upon A Time there was a struggling young painter who also lived in darkness, and – like the hero of that Hungarian folktale – was beginning his most perilous quest. shooting for the Moon. And the Sun. And the Stars … Once Upon A Time there was a studio of artists who feared they were doomed to obscurity, for though they worked and they worked, no one was interested in the paintings that stood in racks along their studio walls. The Sun, the Moon & The Stars is a tale of two quests, of two young men who are reaching for the moon. And the sun. And the stars. This is a story that I read every few years. Each time I read it I get more from it. The story is of a artist telling his friends a fairy tale he was told in his youth. In telling them the story he is living a fairy tale in that he is attacking the biggest canvas he has ever painted. One he bought after selling a painting that has sat blank for a long time. Now before giving up on being artists living in community he tries to tackle that canvas. As both a write and a painter this story draws me in. Each time I read it, I hope to become better at both my crafts. This story is a modern day fairy tale told with compassion, conviction and daring. It dares us to learn to dream again, to hope to wish, and maybe if we are lucky the magic of the story will rub off on us. Read the review and with links to other reviews of books by the author on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Devlocke

    I'm not one for novelettes but every time Brust writes something short, it's fabulous. It's been ages since I read something that wasn't Dragaeran by him, so this was bittersweet. The Dragaeran stuff is great, but isn't that all he's done, the last long-ass-time or so? His one-off stuff is so rad. This is another rad one-off. To be useful: fairy-tale told simultaneously with story of present(then)-day art collective kinda thing. Hard to describe in any way that does it justice. Plays/deals with I'm not one for novelettes but every time Brust writes something short, it's fabulous. It's been ages since I read something that wasn't Dragaeran by him, so this was bittersweet. The Dragaeran stuff is great, but isn't that all he's done, the last long-ass-time or so? His one-off stuff is so rad. This is another rad one-off. To be useful: fairy-tale told simultaneously with story of present(then)-day art collective kinda thing. Hard to describe in any way that does it justice. Plays/deals with philosophy and relationships? As well as aesthetics and gods. Whatevs. If you know Brust, you'll get enough of what I mean. If you don't, and any of the words I've used remind you of things you like, you'll probably dig this too.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    I'm amazed at Brust's ability to to write in such different styles. This book broke each chapter down into multiple parts. One part dealt with the protagonists history with the artists around him, one dealt with what was currently going on with those relationships, one dealt with his actual work on the painting, one dealt with a Hungarian folk tale, and one dealt with philosophical insights into everything else. There was some overlap of course, but generally each section told its own part of th I'm amazed at Brust's ability to to write in such different styles. This book broke each chapter down into multiple parts. One part dealt with the protagonists history with the artists around him, one dealt with what was currently going on with those relationships, one dealt with his actual work on the painting, one dealt with a Hungarian folk tale, and one dealt with philosophical insights into everything else. There was some overlap of course, but generally each section told its own part of the story. Despite the breakup, things flowed. Even the folk tale with different characters. I was invested in the story the entire time. I enjoyed watching the painting unfold, and I was caught up in the drama of the studio. I really enjoyed reading the "Art Theory" and listen to the characters break down what was and wasn't art. What was good and what wasn't. The read was fast and I liked almost all of it. Three stars though. Why? Well as much as I enjoyed the process, the final product felt a little lacking. I felt like Brust told me to look at things, told me they were tied together, and then ended it. I felt like the plot needed more shoring up at the end. I wanted to know if the monster was well received, I wanted to know how the show went, I want to know a lot that I just didn't get to find out about. I realize the story wasn't actually about the characters and that they were just there as vehicles to carry the art, but I still cared and felt a little let down at the end. Also, I think it's not fair that Brust made me think about Vlad the whole time. I mean the shaman is called a Taltos...I would have liked to have known that when I picked up the Vlad series. Even in the epilogue Brust is citing some historian or something named Teckla. How can Teckla be someones name? I feel like I got a peek behind the curtain or something. (Not that this is good or bad, I'm just saying.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Proditor

    But is is art? Yes. Categorically, yes. Steven Brust has one great gift and that is his ability to tell a tale in such a way that it almost feels like he is in fact, right there telling it to you. This comes through very well in his Taltos series, but it reaches a pinnacle in The sun, the Moon and the Stars. I read another review that talked about the artistic process and how Brust might not get it...well, I say poppycock. He does get it. He also explains it like I might explain it to you over a But is is art? Yes. Categorically, yes. Steven Brust has one great gift and that is his ability to tell a tale in such a way that it almost feels like he is in fact, right there telling it to you. This comes through very well in his Taltos series, but it reaches a pinnacle in The sun, the Moon and the Stars. I read another review that talked about the artistic process and how Brust might not get it...well, I say poppycock. He does get it. He also explains it like I might explain it to you over a cup of coffee. There is no high blown rhetoric or agonizing pathos, yet you know it's there. You feel it behind the quiet words and simple explanations. You get it in the little examples he provides. My favorite is his analogy of the use of light in comparison to getting off a good front kick. That passage resonates with reality and simple humanity and the folksy way of relaying things that is the hallmark and strength of Brust. Bar none, this is my favorite work by my favorite author, eclipsing Vlad, Khaavren and even to Reign in Hell as the book I go back to at least once a year. Sit down, grab a mug of coffee and let him tell you a tale.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Psychophant

    There are three meaning threads in this book. One is a reflection on art, made using a group of artists that share a studio, in the 80s (contemporary when published). The second is a Hungarian folk tale, the quest to put the Sun, the Moon and the Stars back in the sky. It interacts little (but there are a few moments) with the main thread, even if it is told by the main character. Then there is an additional meaning in the pictures chosen by the author to introduce each scene, which both tell us There are three meaning threads in this book. One is a reflection on art, made using a group of artists that share a studio, in the 80s (contemporary when published). The second is a Hungarian folk tale, the quest to put the Sun, the Moon and the Stars back in the sky. It interacts little (but there are a few moments) with the main thread, even if it is told by the main character. Then there is an additional meaning in the pictures chosen by the author to introduce each scene, which both tell us something about the scene and the author. This is a book that gets better with the internet, as it becomes possible to see all those artworks and choose by yourself, but it is still both pretentious, with all these layers of meaning (over three hundred pictures mentioned) and by presenting a surprisingly homogeneous bunch of artists. I feel they just do not argue enough, or at least that would have happened with the artists I know. There is passion, but almost always in check, almost always hidden, so we need gimmicks like the scene titles to see things more clearly. Interesting to clarify your own ideas on Art, and devoting (or not) your life to it. Or if you want to show off how many paintings you can recognize.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Akiva

    One of the reasons I like Brust is that he is always trying different things, well different things mixed with hungarian folktales and so the main thread of this book is intercut with a fairly generic folktale about a taltos (mysterious wizard type) at the dawn of time who is going on a quest to hang the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky so that the world can be bright. Greg, the protagonist narrator of this book, is one of a group of artists who share studio space. None of them are making One of the reasons I like Brust is that he is always trying different things, well different things mixed with hungarian folktales and so the main thread of this book is intercut with a fairly generic folktale about a taltos (mysterious wizard type) at the dawn of time who is going on a quest to hang the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky so that the world can be bright. Greg, the protagonist narrator of this book, is one of a group of artists who share studio space. None of them are making any money and if this book had a plot it would be about them putting together a show as one last gasp toward being able to afford to eat and paint at the same time, while Greg tackles a major painting. However, the plot really just serves as something to hang two things on: 1. A well captured tale of the social dynamics of a close group breaking apart. 2. Brust meditating on the creative process. These are probably worth the price of admission, but overall it doesn't really work as a book and the folktale felt more like padding than the structural symmetry and tempo control he was probably going for.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.