Tag Archives: Fairy Tale

365 Short Stories: Day 2: The Snow Child by Angela Carter

the-bloody-chamber-and-other-stories-by-angela-carter

Today’s story was “The Snow Child” by Angela Carter. Taken from the collection “The Bloody Chamber and Other stories”, this is a retelling of “Snow White” and explores aspects of male power, desire and horror.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply disturbed I was on reading it, but the craft of Ms. Carter is something else. In fewer than 500 words she manages to make you feel the eroticism of the Count, the envy of the Countess and the innocence of the Snow Child which cannot last for long.

There is the element of surprise, shock and horror – all blend in beautifully in today’s story. A must read, if you ask me.

Here is the link to it: https://biblioklept.org/2013/06/21/the-snow-child-angela-carter/

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781408859643
Genre: Graphic Story
Pages: 72
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Another Neil Gaiman that I read this month and loved it as much as “Hansel and Gretel”. This one is called “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, takes on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. This one I found better than “Hansel and Gretel”, maybe because I have loved these two fairy tales most as a child. “The Sleeper and the Spindle” is again fascinating because of the illustrations by Riddell and the tales weaved by Gaiman.

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” is a fun read. It is not a light reader but neither is it as dark as “Hansel and Gretel”. The stories are just the same with some twist here and there, but what really will make you want more as a reader are the illustrations of Chris Riddell. They are stupendous and beautifully drawn.

Neil Gaiman’s storytelling is inventive. The stories merge together and as a reader you are just fascinated by the writing style and narrative. This one is also creepy but not so much. There are a couple of minor changes but that is passable in the name of creativity. It is a dark and innovative spin that you must read and reread for the illustrations. A short read for a lazy Sunday.

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Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman Title: Hansel and Gretel
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Lorenzo Mattotti
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781408861981
Genre: Graphic Story
Pages: 56
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

We have all read and loved “Hansel and Gretel” when we were growing up. Everything about fairy tales was fascinating and intriguing. Nothing could take away the beauty of a good fairy tale, so much so that its macabre underlined meaning was lost on us. Neil Gaiman’s “Hansel and Gretel” does not drift away from the real story at all. It stays true to it and yet there is something about this version that both your dreams and nightmares will be made of.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 1

“Hansel and Gretel” tells the tale of a brother and sister and yet there are so many layers to it – of poverty, the parents’ role in sending the children away, the witch but obviously and the children with their intelligence and wit. What makes this edition so unique of course are the wonderful illustrations of Lorenzo Mattotti. They are dark, brooding, and melancholic to the core. They are of course wonderfully done. And while others might say that it is too dark, it is really not that dark.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 2

The book delivers creepy fantastically. The images are in black and white, so that is another twist to it. “Hansel and Gretel” is a delight to read, even if it is just fifty-six pages long. There is something redeeming and at the same time something so unforgiving about this tale, that it will make you think over and over again. We have all heard it in our childhood, but I feel that for most stories, different versions are always welcome. They somehow change your perception as well, over time and years to come.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman - Image 3

“Hansel and Gretel” is a work that is beautifully reproduced by Gaiman and Mattotti and a definite read for both children and adults. Also, please ensure that the children have read the earlier Grimm’s tale as well, more so for literature’s sake.

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Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet

Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet Title: Beautiful Darkness
Author: Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
ISBN: 978-1770461291
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 96
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had been waiting for the longest time to read, “Beautiful Darkness”. The minute I heard about it, I knew I would love it. It is a dark take on the fairy tale world. It is nothing like what you would expect and it is nothing like what you think it will be. It is a strange graphic novel. It is a graphic novel that shows you the way humans are, the way animals are and the way it really is. There is no happy ending. So you better be warned before you decide to read this one.

Beautiful Darkness - Image 1

“Beautiful Darkness” is about a strange kind. I am inclined to believe that it is a fairy-tale world and maybe that is what it is. It is an anti-fairy tale as the book suggests. It is the pixie land of Lord of the Flies. It is violent and head-snapping and decays at its best. The book is about Princess Aurora, her Prince, a fine setting to begin with and how all if it only starts getting bad to worse. The book begins with globs of blood, with the body of a girl – once alive, now dead and her flesh decaying (sort of depicting what is going to happen next in this strange land) and how she permanently rests there, and how the world around the body changes drastically.

Beautiful Darkness - Image 2

Vehlmann poses a lot of questions during the entire book. Who killed the girl? Why this world the way it is? Why is Aurora trying to help everyone, when everything around her is falling apart? Animals are trying to survive. Pixies are doing their bit. This tale is not for children. There is gore, a lot of it. There is darkness, which the creatures get used to. There is survival of the fittest and sometimes a whole lot of betrayal and shocks that come to fore.

Beautiful Darkness - Image 3

Beautiful Darkness - Image 4

Vehlmann explores the dark side of humanity. He gets into the skin of it and exposes it, for all to see. The maggot eating, the haphazard cruelty, the cannibalism, and more are for the reader. Like I said, you were warned. At the same time, don’t forget to go through the lovely illustrations.

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A Wild Ride Through the Night by Walter Moers

A friend who works as a merchandiser for a book store and is a voracious reader herself highly recommended, “A Wild Ride Through the Night” by Walter Moers. And things could not get better, since I picked it up at a sale for only 99 rupees and that too a hardcover!! I could not be more happy than this!

The beauty of the book is that Moers has constructed the entire 187 page novel from illustrations. And whose illustrations would those be? They are the classic woodcuts of the late Gustave Dore (who also happens to be the book’s protagonist). Moers’ happy, eccentric tale fits the illustrations like a glove. I wonder what prompted him to write such an imaginative tale.

 

The twelve-year old Gustave survives a Siamese Twin Tornado, only to find himself facing Death and his sister Dementia, who decide to play dice for first dibs on Gustave. Gustave in desperation secures a deal with Death – if he can fulfill a series of seemingly impossible tasks, he can go ahead and live his life for a long time.

And from there begins his wild ride through the night – since the tasks need to be finished in one night. He encounters damsels who attack dragons, an alligator who lures his prey and then devours them, a crazy woman, six beasts and a ride on the moon and back.

Walter Moers’ brand of fantasy is not only comical but also unique. His wacky creatures and endless possibilities are a marvel. It also happens to be a simple book and very easy to understand. I love the way it is based on woodcuts. A must read!!