Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Alice Hoffman and Fairy Tale Memoirs

A few weeks ago, I linked to an article about Alice Hoffman that included Q&A with Hoffman about her fairy tale influences, see Alice Hoffman and A. S. Byatt in the News. She's busily promoting her new book, The Story Sisters, so another article, Alice Hoffman In West Hartford Sept. 23, has appeared with more discussion about fairy tales, quoted below:

As a little girl growing up in what she calls "an unhappy situation," Alice Hoffman found great solace and truth in the fairy tales she loved to read.

"I felt almost moved to tears by fairy tales. They felt so psychologically true," the author says in a recent phone conversation. "They seemed very real to me."

What's more, her Russian grandmother often told her tales of the old country that seemed just like fairy tales to young Alice.

"Grandmothers telling stories is what women always did, just naturally," Hoffman says. "The meaning rises up and comes from a psychological place."

I always enjoy reading about the fairy tale experiences of readers, be they well-known or living out of the spotlight of life. Kate Bernheimer has edited two collections of personal essays from writers discussing how reading fairy tales impacted their lives: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales and Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales. They are both excellent and I highly recommend them if you, too, enjoy reading about the commonality of experience through specific recollections.

Just this year, Maria Tatar published Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood which also includes the adult memories of childhood reading.

All three books are highly recommended especially since they were written and/or edited by leaders in the field of fairy tale studies.

PS: Hoffman's The Story Sisters uses fairy tale motifs--one of the sisters creates a fairy tale fantasy world as a coping mechanism to deal with her sexual abuse. There's an excerpt and plenty of reviews on the book's Amazon page.

1 comment:

  1. I loved Mirror, Mirror! The women were very frank, open, & honest with their lives. It was a wonderfully insightful collection.