Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge via netgally in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a ‘clear as water’ retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.
From the quests and romance of classics such as ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ to the dangerand wit of such lesser-known tales as ‘The Three Snake Leaves’, ‘Hans-my-Hedgehog’ and ‘Godfather Death’, Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story’s background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.
These new versions show the adventures at their most lucid and engaging yet. Pullman’s Grimm Tales of wicked wives, brave children and villainous kings will have you reading, reading aloud and rereading them for many years to come.
I’ve read a version of The Brother’s Grimm fairytales before, for The Rory List. The collection (as with most) was not complete and I really saw what it was lacking from reading Pullman’s collection. Grimm Tales does not contain all of the fairy tales told by The Brother’s Grimm however it does highlight a number of stranger and/or less well known tales. I particularly liked the story of the bird, the sausage and the mouse, just for how absurd it was, although in terms of strangeness of story it probably wasn’t the strangest of all, more it just had the most unlikely characters.
Pullman tried to keep the tales as close as he could to how they had originally been recorded by The Brother’s Grimm but he did change a few things for clarity and flow and I found them easier to read than the former version I had read. Pullman also added little commentaries on each text where he talked about the stories, how they linked to other stories in folklore, things which had been said about the stories, and about how the Brother’s Grimm had already come across them. I felt this really added something to the stories and I found the commentary interesting to read.
I wouldn’t really recommend reading Grimm Tales in the way that I did, i.e. as a book rather than as individual stories. It’s probably better to dip in and out. At first (as you could probably tell from my twitter feed) I was really into it and commenting on pretty much every story. However after a while things began to get a bit samey and I started to loose interest.
In a way though reading all the stories together did help me see parallels which was quite interesting, and also helped the different end of tales information join together nicely when Pullman refereed to previous or future tales.
I would recommend this book but maybe wait for the paperback, or at least don’t try to read it all at once.
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