Friday, 3 September 2010
Friday is for Fairytales is a meme hosted by Irena (me) at This Miss loves to Read. Every Friday, you can choose a fairytale you love, or simply find interesting or haunting, and review it or simply say why you like it so much, or why it has captured your attention. Instead of a fairytale, you can choose a favourite fairytale character and describe him/her and tell us why you like them, or you can simply share an experience connected to a fairytale. Fairytales can be old and modern, written by a known author or anonymous, written down or passed on orally, short or in novel form (like re-writings of fairytales), international or typical for your country alone. In this case, present your country’s fairytale and we can all become acquainted with a new fairytale. So, make a post every Friday that is connected to the world of fairytales, be it a review, a character description or your own fairytale experience. Let’s celebrate fairytales and share our love for them.
My post today is about: “On Lickerish Hill” by Susanna Clarke
“On Lickerish Hill” is a short story from Susanna Clarke’s collection of short stories entitled The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories. It is a retelling of Rumplestiltskin and is very cleverly written. Clarke re-wrote the famous tale by the brothers Grimm like this.
The story takes place in 17th century Suffolk, England, and is told from the point of view of a young bride, Miranda Sowreston. She has to resort to magic to spin enough flax to satisfy her husband’s demands, while in the original, a miller’s daughter has to spin straw into gold to appease the king of her country. Like in the original, Miranda is visited by a strange, dwarf-like creature. He helps her complete her task, but for payment, she must guess his name or there will be consequences. Eventually, she guesses his name, with the help of the creature himself, because she hears him sing his name without him knowing about it.
This re-telling is a truly delightful read. It follows the original plot faithfully, but it is told in a different way, with the character of Miranda nicely lined out. What I truly loved about this re-telling was the atmosphere of 17th century authenticity. The language is archaic, and so is the spelling. However, it tackled more modern themes that perhaps women of that time did not think about much, or they kept quiet about it: namely, a woman’s subordination to her husband that resembles slavery, that is one of them. So, this is a fairy-tale with an archaic setting and modern themes, but it is so deftly written that you only begin to think about these modern themes after you’ve finished reading the tale.
I would like to recommend this collection of short stories as a whole. They combine elements of fairy-tales, featuring elements of Arthurian legends, real people from history (Mary Queen of Scots), Neil Gaiman’s world, characters resembling the Bennets from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and so on. It is a great collection.
What did YOU choose to write about this Friday?
Posted by Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read at 9/03/2010