Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fairy Tales

I had forgotten how much I enjoy retellings of fairy tales until I recently read Ash by Malinda Lo. Ideally, any story that I read will take me down new paths and around unexpected corners. However, for the unexpected to be revealed in the retelling of a fairy tale is something entirely different. Fairy tales are one of the final communal vestiges of a story tradition that most people carry with them from childhood: maybe from an elementary school librarian's reading circle, a parent's bedtime story, maybe from the Bros. Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson or from Disney. Regardless of the source, many of these stories stand as touchstones in our understanding of stories and understanding of the world. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood all conjure the same basic plot lines and images. But instead of churning out the tropes and clich├ęs that could accompany a hundreds-of-years-old story, Lo's imagery, narrative, and protagonist make the story of Cinderella brand-new and magical. And, better than anything, it makes me believe in love forever-after.

This book also reminded me of Robin McKinley's books--especially Beauty. Any other good fairy tale retellings out there?


Tawny said...

I have a fairy tale retelling coming out :-) Its in the Blazing Bedtime Story anthology in Jan '10, and my story is You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs - the modernized and sexy retelling of The Frog Prince *g*

I do love fairy tales, so this was such a thrill to write. There's something both comforting and almost archetypal in reading fairy tales, isn't there?

Alice said...

Yeah! I love fairy tale retellings too! I'll have to read Ash.