The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, Francesca Lia Block
With language that is both lyrical and distinctly her own, Francesca Lia Block turns nine fairy tales inside out.
Escaping the poisoned apple, Snow frees herself from possession to find the truth of love in an unexpected place.
A club girl from L.A., awakening from a long sleep to the memories of her past, finally finds release from its curse.
And Beauty learns that Beasts can understand more than men.
Within these singular, timeless landscapes, the brutal and the magical collide, and the heroine triumphs because of the strength she finds in a pen, a paintbrush, a lover, a friend, a mother, and finally, in herself.
My first read of 2014. I don’t remember precisely when or what, but I know I was introduced to FLB (among others) back in college, in one of my folklore classes. This is a book that has been on my list for many years, and finally I received it as a gift this Christmas.
This is a quick read, easily doable within a few hours if you have them to spare. As with another of FLB’s books I own, Roses and Bones (only partially read on my end, oops), Block’s writing here is pretty lyrical; her prose seems more like poetry. Overall I wouldn’t say this is the greatest book of retellings I’ve ever read, but it gets the job done. Some of the modernized interpretations can seem a bit predictable (Sleeping Beauty as heroin addict, for example, although that’s actually one of my favorites in this collection), but it’s a quick read that evokes just enough emotion to take you there without sending you over the edge.