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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Myth and Magic

I'm almost through with The Orphan's Tale: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente. What a wondrous book! I've been diving into it at every opportunity for the last few days, but now, today, when I have lots of time to devote to it, I'm slowing down. Finding other things to do, in order to avoid finishing.

I pulled from the new book shelves at the library with no prior information...just that I liked the title and the cover; the back cover mentioned myth and fairy tale--PERFECT. The right book at the right time, it fits right in with the direction of my book orders.

But to have it turn out to be such a beautiful and intricate experience is more than I could have expected. Two lonely children, an outcast orphan and a prince...

I'm at a loss to explain the intricacy of this book, as the girls spins her tales for the prince, and then the characters within the tales take over and tell their own tales, and the characters in that tale must offer their own explanations by way of another tale.... A cycle of tales related and informative, all manner of creatures fanstastic and monstrous, magic and cruelty, faith and inspiration, old tales with a new perspective, tales with strange twists and turns like a labyrinth where every new path can provide a different outcome.

As eager as I am to find how all of the tales will turn out, I do not want to finish the book.


  1. It must be good if you are slowing down in order not to finish it too soon! It sounds like Sheherazade. I will have to go look it up!

  2. Sounds wonderful. It is a bittersweet thing to come to the end of really good books, no doubt about it.

  3. This sounds completely 'my thing'. I'm off to the library site now to see if they have it. I do know that experience of not wanting to finish a book, not wanting to let the characters, who have become friends, go. Somehow, the knowledge that they will always be there and you can always come back to them isn't quite enough, is it? You don't want more of the same, just more.

  4. Danielle - I finished it last night and will review it soon. Valente is really exceptional and her approach is so different!

    Carl - There will be a Volume 2, but it won't be released until October. A long wait...

    Ann - There are so many characters; each tale has its own protagonist and introduces a new character. They reappear in other tales, too, and you discover more about them.

  5. Isn't it the best when you want to know what happens but dread coming to the end. I haven't heard of this book but I'm going to also see if my library carries it. I'm intrigued.

  6. iliana - The tales are definitely adult and keep you hanging on, as well as looking for clues. Loved it.