Fairytales can get a bit same-old. The handsome prince rescues the girl in the tower, who is glad to become his wife. There is a place in the world for every kind of story, and if you dig a little deeper there are stories of all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Stories with endings you may not know or expect.
Through The Water Curtain takes thirteen stories from around the world and looks a little deeper into their origins. Insightful commentary at the end of each tale helps us to think about how stories come to be written in the first place.
Cornelia Funke, bestselling author of series such as Inkheart and Dragon Rider, is the perfect person to edit a collection of fairytales. Over the course of her career, she has travelled the globe in search of stories, something which she refers to in this collection. Her commentaries offer insight both into the stories themselves and into Funke’s experience as a storyteller.
These stories certainly aren’t Disneyfied. Character meet brutal endings, such as the girls in Kotura, Lord Of The Winds who freeze to death when they fail to heed instructions. They remind us that fairy tales can be dark and unknowable.
The book is beautifully desinged. The cover demands that you pick it up and I love the detailed design of the pictures. Each story has a title page with an illustration like those on the front cover.
If you are looking to treat yourself to a fairytale collection, this is a beautiful and insightful introduction. It is also a lovely size to read and reread until the tales are known by heart.
Thanks to Pushkin Press for my copy of Through The Water Curtain. Opinions my own.