Spinning Silver • 2016 • Fairy Tale novelette by Naomi Novik

★★★

Rumpelstilzchen is one of those famous fairy tales collected by the Grimm Brothers in a region some 100km from the place where I live. They were raised up some 40km from here. So yes, this is Grimm’s country. I’m very fond about those tales, have read several versions, literary science interpretations, and of course read those tales to my children. Knowing that others might find them problematical in the sense of violence, terror or even antisemitic once in a while, I still love them dearly. I don’t really need alternate narrations, I want the original – similar to my understanding that I don’t need re-tellings of the Lord of the Rings (e.g. through Shannara).

Having said that, Novik writes a beautiful tale, transporting Rumpelstilzchen to a Jewish setting in a different world where fairys are called Staryk, and young money-lender Myrem isn’t a beautiful miller’s daughter at all. The original fairy tale comes in a dense single page, whereas Novik weaves her tale over 27 pages and looses focus. It doesn’t reflect the core of the original tale but narrates something different. I didn’t like the original intention why it was written but I liked the tale itself.

 

Meta: isfdb. It appeared in The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales and in Best SFF 11

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