Hands up anyone who doesnâ€™t know the story of Romeo and Juliet. No-one? Thought not. Chances are you cut your literary teeth on it, and it probably holds some special associations for you. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s such a good subject for a modern/historical parallel romance story with sinister overtones.
In the snow-encrusted archipelago of St. Haudaâ€™s Land, moth-winged bulls and a creature that can turn things white with her gaze share an island with more human lives: people who lose love as quickly as they gain it and who must struggle with the baggage of the past.
November 1, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Fairy Tales, Loss, Real Event Fiction, Small Town Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Speculative (Beyond Reality), United Kingdom
In this title short story, “The Woman with the Bouquet,” Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt blends his trademark elements of fairy tale romance, pathos, and fatedness. It radiates mystery and romanticism but also a ghostly bit of menace, and it cuts to a marrow of sorrow. It appeals to our curiosity about the “obsessing” people in this world who will not be moved from their own missions, and simultaneously it reminds us that time spent waiting for something is time not spent doing something else more “constructive.” Loyalty and love would seem to be the motivators of the woman, but perhaps she just is retiring from the world by standing there every day?
TTHE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN THE WORLD is a collection of eight modern fairy tales. In each of the novellas, a sense of the fantastic intertwines with the mundane, sometimes enchantingly, sometimes crudely but still beguilingly.
The title story, for instance, transports the reader into the midst of a women’s gulag during Soviet rule where the inmates suspiciously eye the newcomer, Olga. She might, after all, be an informer. But the talk of the day is about her hair which is either “horrible” or “magnificent” depending upon the prisoner opining.