Tag Archives: fairy tale

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail

DATE FINISHED: July 20th, 2012 

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS:  Holland has planted his land with every variety of eucalyptus he can get his hands on – over five hundred in total. As his daughter reaches marriageable age, he decides that only the man who can correctly name all of his eucalypts will be good enough to take her hand. News of Ellen’s beauty and Holland’s challenge travel far and wide, but it is only when one suitor shows clear signs that he will accomplish this task that Ellen begins to worry – especially as she has recently met a stranger whose odd stories have somehow got under her skin…

THOUGHTS:  This is, of course, a fairy tale. But the characters are more than archetypes, the landscape lives and breathes, and the story is compelling. Read more of this post

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In a Dark Wood by Amanda Craig

DATE FINISHED: July 18th, 2012 

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS:  Benedick is miserable: recently divorced, acting career in the doldrums, at war with his father, and barely able to look after himself, let alone his two young children (who ex-wife Georgie keeps insisting spend time with him). Taking refuge in the home of Ruth, the woman who raised him as one of her own, Benedick suddenly realises he can remember almost nothing about his real mother, who committed suicide when he was six years old. Inspired by a book of fairy tales written and illustrated by Laura, he embarks upon a quest to discover more about her, whether she was mad as many of her ‘friends’ seem to claim, and what drove her beyond the brink.

THOUGHTS:  In the sheer unlikeability of lead character Benedick, Craig sets herself for a potentially huge downfall – he is irritating, whiny, hypocritical, rude, quite simply unpleasant. Those readers who force themselves beyond this, however, will be rewarded Read more of this post

Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

DATE FINISHED: May 16th, 2012

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS:  Author St. John Fox stands accused of multiple murder – by his own muse and creation Mary Foxe. He also finds himself on the brink of divorce from his jealous wife, Daphne, who believes he is having an affair. Is St. John in love with Mary or Daphne? And does choosing one necessarily mean the end of the other? What’s a man to do?

THOUGHTS: Stories within stories, slipping times and locations, where do memories and fantasies collide and divide? If you prefer a linear narrative, this is not the book for you. Read more of this post

Was by Geoff Ryman

DATE FINISHED: April 23rd, 2012

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:  Orphaned Dorothy Gael is raised by her Aunt and Uncle in a bleak Kansas farmhouse of the 1870s.  Her unhappy life is filled with thankless chores, society visits with Aunty Em, the long trek to school, and the unwanted attentions of Uncle Henry.  Only substitute teacher Frank offers any hope of salvation, through the power of imagination.  Interwoven with Dorothy’s story is that of young Frances Gumm, later to become Judy Garland immortalising Dorothy in glorious technicolour, as well as that of a young man called Jonathan who becomes obsessed with Dorothy as his own life slips away.

THOUGHTS:   This novel is at its strongest when focusing on the past, the land of Was.   Read more of this post

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

DATE FINISHED: July, 2011

RATED: ***

SYNOPSIS:  Have you ever considered the logistical flaws of the average fairy tale? Vivian Vande Velde has, in depth. This collection of stories presents alternative versions of Little Red Riding Hood,from various perspectives…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

The Witch’s Boy by Michael Gruber

DATE FINISHED: June, 2011

RATED: ***

SYNOPSIS:  Primarily the story of Lump, a boy raised by a witch & treated cruelly by humans , whose destiny is to fulfill the Rumpelstiltskin tale.  This is fiction aimed at children, probably aged around 9 upwards.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Echoes by Laura Dockrill

DATE FINISHED: May, 2011

RATED: ***

SYNOPSIS:  Acollection of tales by performance poet Laura Dockrill, combining supernatural stories with contemporary versions of traditional fairy tales as well as some entirely original stories (with varying degrees of success).

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Brother Grimm by Craig Russell

DATE FINISHED: May, 2011

RATED: **

SYNOPSIS:  A thriller/murder mystery set in Germany, about a serial killer who poses his victims in tableaux from Grimm’s fairy tales, e.g. Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel etc

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post