Fairytales Retold, reshaped and reimagined

Wicked, the amazing Broadway hit came to Denver April-May, I have seen the show, I have read the books and I LOVE Wicked, and now Snow White and the Huntsman is tearing it up at the box office but what about other lesser known retold stories?

I have a fascination with stories told from the outsider's perspective, or stories told with an unexpected slant. It has always been a dream of mine to get a degree that studies fairytales just so I could spend years and years and years reading and rereading the same stories told different ways, but I digress.

This summer the theaters will be full of people watching Mirror Mirror as well as Snow White and the Huntsman, both retellings of the same tale, one quirky, one scary. In this same vein there are more collections of retold fairy tales than I have the room to discuss here, but the following are a few of my favorites!

The Rose and the Beast, by Francesca Lia Block
This whimsical and strange collection of retold fairy tales always makes me feel like I am dreaming underwater. Block has a great way of showing you just enough and leaving painful holes in a story that you want to press your eye against to find out what life is like on the other side.

Shaking a Leg: Collected Writings, by Angela Carter
Angela Carter may have inspired our current environment of reimagined fairy tales by reworking many of the traditional tales so that they had a strong feminist bent.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire
Mr. Maguire not only reimagined the wicked witch of the East so famously in Wicked but here he tells the story of Cinderella's ugly stepsister, perhaps Cinderella was not quite the martyr she's cracked up to be.

Mirror Mirror, by Gregory Maguire
Another by a master of this genre, Mirror Mirror is obviously a take on the Snow White tale. Disney may have taught you about Snow White but did they get the story right?

Kissing the Witch, by Emma Donoghue
These thirteen tales lead one into the other into the other and back again taking readers on a lyrical and often times surprising journey through the traditional tales that we all knew as children. Reading these again with a more mature eye can be a very imbalancing experience.

If you're down at the Central branch come to the 2nd floor and check out our display for more reimagined fairy tales, right where the escalators let you off!

Written by Emily on June 13, 2012


Mishalak on June 26, 2012


It does not sound like you need suggestions on more to read, but I recently read Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. If you like Russian fairytales it is fairly good. Very Russian in its somewhat uncertain ending. I enjoyed it very much due to my love of Eastern European fairytales.

Emily on June 26, 2012


oh man i have it on the bookshelf at home just have not quite gotten to it yet! i did recently finish Shadow and Bone which is a YA fantasy based on "Imperial Russia" and some folklore it was very good, i will get cracking on Deathless, and i will take recommendations ANYTIME! Thanks!

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