Review: Tea with the Black Dragon, R. A. MacAvoy

This lovely, unusual contemporary fantasy is unfortunately out of print. The eponymous dragon is Mayland Long; he has tea with Martha Macnamara, who has just checked into the hotel he lives at. Mr. Long is seeking, "among other things," truth; Martha is seeking her missing daughter Liz, whose urgent phone call summoned her to California. From there follows a love story, ruminations on the nature of humanity, and forays into computer science, all tied together by Liz's mysterious predicament. MacAvoy writes cleverly and compactly, mixing Chinese imperial dragons and speech-controlled toy cars with ease and grace. This is a thoroughly charming and enjoyable book.

She wondered what sprite had tempted her to hoof it from the lobby to the seventh floor, where Mayland Long resided. Surely it was not the spirit of physical fitness. Health trailed along in Martha Macnamara's wake; she had never turned to pursue it.

She snorted as she recognized her motive. She was visiting a man's rooms alone, and so had unconsciously avoided observation. What an absurd right hemisphere you have, she railed at herself. Nasty half-brain. Sneaky and absurd . . . . Serve it right to climb the rest of the way.

She stood at the top. "There," she mumbled to herself. "See what you made me do?"

%T  Tea with the Black Dragon
%A  MacAvoy, R. A. 
%C  New York
%I  Bantam
%D  1983
%G  0-553-23205-3
%P  166pp
%O  paperback

Copyright April 23, 1999 by Kate Nepveu.

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