Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Thursday, December 22, 2016

"The Turnip Princess" by Franz Xaver von Schoenwerth

I was excited when I came across this book of all-new-to-me fairy tales (despite the not-quite-appealing artwork). I was slightly less excited after reading the first story, and I put the book down and read several others before picking this one up again.

My initial assessment held throughout the book. I found most of these stories to lack the familiar rhythm of traditional fairy tales. The plots seemed disjointed, often without logical progression. Many were distracting hodgepodges of elements from well-known tales. One story alone might include bits from Snow White, Cinderella, and The Six Swans.

I was left with the feeling that so much more could have been made of this collection of stories--they could have been so much more involved and charming if they were written with more detail and elaboration, and an eye for avoiding irrational leaps. I do understand that the translator's aim was to make the stories available in English in a form as close to the original as possible, so the failure is not with the translation but with the original stories. I am actually semi-inspired to rewrite a selection of these stories (though, truth be told, that will probably never happen) to make them more appealing.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading this book. I even had a favorite: "The Scorned Princess," which had more logical progression, more details, and an ending that took me by surprise. 

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