It’s time for the latest in my recommendation series, and as always I encourage you all to recommend some of your own favourite reads within the given genre. As a lover of all things whimsical and enchanting, this time round I have decided to discuss a few of my favourite books surrounding myth and fairy tales.
A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan
Inspired by Scottish folk tales, A Portable Shelter is a series of interconnected short stories. The ongoing narrative between each tale sees two women awaiting the birth of their first child who, having promised each other never to lie to the baby, take turns to relay fairy tales, the implication being that there is always truth to be taken from stories. Some of the stories are dark, others are charming, but all are beautifully written and contain important lessons about our own world.
A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham
This is a very recent read for me and one I thoroughly enjoyed. A Wild Swan sees Cunningham explore the dark, untold parts of classic fairy tales, such as how the witch came to live in a house made of sweets; the difficulty Snow White had living up to the ‘perfect’ image of herself that the Prince fell in love with; the reason behind Rumpelstiltskin’s demand that the Queen give him her firstborn child, and so on.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The first in the Fairyland series, this incredibly charming book sees a young girl swept away on an epic adventure. It has a lot of Wonderland vibes, with all manner of weird and wonderful characters and creatures, most notably A-Through-L, a wyvern so named for the area of the library he grew up in; a kindly creature who believes his mother to have been a dragon and his father a library. Yep, it really is that magical.
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
The Crane Wife is inspired by a traditional Japanese folk tale. After a man aids a gravely injured crane in the dead of night, a mysterious woman enters his life. It is both a modern-day story about loneliness and the power of art, and a timeless, beautifully written tale of love, longing and storytelling as a means of great beauty.
The Fairytale Princess by Su Blackwell
Rather than re-imaginings or stories inspired by fairy tales, this book contains seven classic tales as we already know and love them (reworded by Wendy Jones). It is the stunning paper sculptures crafted by the immensely talented Su Blackwell and photographed to form the accompanying illustrations that make this book so special however.
What are some of your favourite reads inspired by myth and fairy tales? Let’s chat about them.