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Search tags: lit-fiction-fairy-tale-influence-retelling
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review 2016-07-20 21:19
so wow
Before the Feast - Sasa Stanisic,Anthea Bell

                This book is one of those that are instant cover lover.  It is also a good read.

                 A friend of mine who read the back cover said it sounds like a mixture of British comedy, Shirley Jackson, and Monty Python.  (Yes, I know).

                He’s not far off.

                The witches’ brew works too.

                The novel centers on a town in Germany that sits near two lakes.  It is an old town with old traditions and old mysteries.

                The difficult thing is that it is impossible to write a review without spoilers.  The language is wonderful, so odds are the translation is good.  The story is told in short chapters. There is the old man who may or may not be attempting to commit suicide.  There is the assistant bell ringer.  There is the bar owner, though it isn’t really a bar.  There is the woman who runs the historic building.  There is the egg seller.  There is the young woman who is leaving town in some way.  There is the vixen. 

                And there is the narrator.

                It is such a lovely novel.  It really is.  There is magic in it.   If you like fairy tales, folklore, ghost stories, vixens,

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review 2016-07-04 17:10
Read this
The Puttermesser Papers: A Novel - Cynthia Ozick

So, um, I really don't know what to say. It's like that perfect thing that breaks your heart and then . . .

I know everyone says Moby Dick is the great American novel, but I think this might be it instead.

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review 2015-04-02 21:02
Arabian Nights and Days - Naguib Mahfouz,Denys Johnson-Davies

                The thing about 1001 Nights is the ending, where Sherzhade gets to keep her head.  Would you really like to be married to a man who kept beheading wives on the first day of the honeymoon?

                Mahfouz seems to be playing with this idea and some others in this quasi sequel to Arabian Nights.  In part, he explores why a sultan can do something and an everyman cannot.  He deals with the question of faith and how stories and telling change our view of that.

                This novel is more like a series of inter-connected short stories where characters and character types from the Nights play out.  The stories are more locally focused and a little less adventuress than some of the tales in the Nights, but it is a deep and quiet book.

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review 2015-03-08 21:16
Told Again: Old Tales Told Again (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales) - Walter De La Mare,A.H. Watson,Philip Pullman

Okay, I have to ask what the hell Phillip Pullman has against Dahl’s version of Little Red Riding Hood because I love it.  We need more girls to know that version than Walter de la Mare’s.


                Sorry, had to get it out of the way.


                This collection is de la Mare’s retellings of famous fairy tales, mostly from the Brothers Grimm, and if you though the Grimms cleaned things up too much, you are going to think that de le Mare has some type  of mental illness. 


                It’s strange, though, the tales that aren’t source from the Grimms tend to be the better ones.  De la Mare adapts Aesop’s “Tortoise and the Hare” for the British child, making it “The Hedgehog and the Hare,” and it is a very charming tale.  It’s the best one in the book.   The retelling of “Bluebeard” is better too though it wanes a little at the end.  De la Mare has a thing against beautiful, vain, and dumb women.  Honestly, one of those shows up, you know something bad is going to happen.  The retelling of Dick Whittington is good too, though the cat becomes male for some reason.


                There are some beautiful descriptions in the stories.

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