Through the Water Curtain by Cornelia Funke was released last year and is an interesting concept that I myself wish happened a little more often, if not in book form, at least on authors' websites. Funke, is an internationally bestselling author of YA fantasy and draws inspiration from folklore. Her Reckless series has been shared here on the SurLaLune Blog and has strong influence from the Grimms and other fairy tale collections.
The reader reviews on this book have been mixed, primarily because of expectations, not what was in the description. The volume states clearly that the tales included were selected and introduced by Funke. She did not retell them or even edit them. They are reprints from many various sources. So the experience of reading these is as if she were reading them herself and finding story fodder from them. The introduction and glosses for each tale offer a glimpse into her interests and what fascinated her or captured her imagination as she read and pondered the stories. She also points out their flaws if viewed with modern sensibilities.
Her general introduction discusses the darkness of the tales she heard as a child, the censored and uncensored versions that were about. Interestingly enough, she remembers listening to tales more than reading them, an interesting dichotomy of literary tales that were drawn from the oral and returned to the oral where they best captured her attention. This book didn't seek to censor the tales from their original sources. They are offered as she found them. So they may have content that is questionable to some readers. They are best intended for advanced middle readers and up into adulthood.
As for me, the small collection is fascinating. It contains a few of my personal favorites, ones I have found are often favorites of authors and fairy tale fans, like "The Six Swans" and "Bluebeard." Those tales have inspired countless authors in modern fiction over the last two centuries, include Juliet Marillier for "The Six Swans" and Angela Carter and Kurt Vonnegut for "Bluebeard". Other tales are much lesser known like "Through the Water Curtain" and "The Areca Tree" so even if you are familiar with many tales, you may find a few that are new or at least not very familiar to you. All of the tales come from Europe and Asia, so the around the world description is really limited to two continents.
A delightful, diverse selection of fairy tales from around the world by one of our most beloved children's writers.
International bestselling children's author Cornelia Funke has long been inspired and fascinated by fairy tales. This wonderful anthology is Funke's personal selection of fairy tales from all around the world - not just from her native Germany but from Russia, Japan and the Native American tradition. It's the perfect Christmas gift for any young reader wishing to discover the wider world of fairy tales.
This wonderful selection of 13 tales includes:
• The Tale of the Firebird (Russia)
• The Boy Who Drew Cats (Japan)
• The Frog Princess (Ukraine)
• The Six Swans (Germany)
• The Girl Who Gave a Knight a Kiss out of Necessity (Sweden)
• Kotura, Lord of the Winds (Siberia)
SurLaLune's Small Print: