Monday, November 12, 2012

The Grimm Revival...

Philip Pullman's latest novel

As I sit here with a Macintosh Apple candle burning, listening to the wind chimes outside, and getting ready to edit my own fairy tale, I am distracted by the most delicious of distractions: someone is re-writing the tales of the Brothers Grimm?

None other than Philip Pullman, author of The Northern Lights (better known in the states as The Golden Compass), of the series "His Dark Materials."  Although I heard bits of that story secondhand while passing down the hall as my mother (who also sent me the link to this news) read it aloud to my little sister years ago, the parts I did absorb were so imaginative and wonderfully dark that I began reading the story myself.  I especially liked Pullman's style because he did not water down or flatten his evil characters in consideration of a younger audience.  Fantasy stories, like life itself, are full of complex motives and people, and should not pretend otherwise.

See print
I have always loved fairy tales, particularly their ability to take simple morals and weave them into entertaining, magical stories that have lasted long enough to be published, and published again, over many years.  Therefore, I can't wait to read this newest collection, especially as its author seems to have a keen understanding of why those fairy tales work so well:

(from NPR interview with Rachel Martin)
"[The Grimm fairy tales] move very quickly. There's not an ounce of narrative fat in them. They go very, very swiftly from event to event. And another thing is you see very few adverbs in them, so I'm trying to cut down on my adverbs. You choose the right verb, and you don't need an adverb to qualify it."

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Pullman's book re-tells fifty of the fairy tales, which include some of the lesser-known stories.  I personally am looking forward to his take on "Hansel and Gretel" and "Cinderella," since those two tales, which have been changed again and again to be "more fitting" for today's children, are particularly violent with dark imagery.  I always picture Pullman's worlds filled with windy mountaintops, veiled characters, and danger seeping through every wall.  Much more akin to fairy tales than brightly colored forests with singing birds and dimpled children skipping about!

See print
This will definitely be a book I have to own--my apologies to the library, but I'm sure I'll be wanting to pull this off my own shelf many times for one reason or another!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to editing my own humble story, and possibly cut out a lot of the adverbs.

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