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read online pdf Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New SkinsAuthor Emma Donoghue – Betadvice.es

Thirteen Tales Are Unspun From The Deeply Familiar, And Woven Anew Into A Collection Of Fairy Tales That Wind Back Through Time Acclaimed Irish Author Emma Donoghue Reveals Heroines Young And Old In Unexpected Alliances Sometimes Treacherous, Sometimes Erotic, But Always Courageous Told With Luminous Voices That Shimmer With Sensuality And Truth, These Age Old Characters Shed Their Antiquated Cloaks To Travel A Seductive New Landscape, Radiantly Transformed Cinderella Forsakes The Handsome Prince And Runs Off With The Fairy Godmother Beauty Discovers The Beast Behind The Mask Is Not So Very Different From The Face She Sees In The Mirror Snow White Is Awakened From Slumber By The Bittersweet Fruit Of An Unnamed Desire Acclaimed Writer Emma Donoghue Spins New Tales Out Of Old In A Magical Web Of Thirteen Interconnected Stories About Power And Transformation And Choosing One S Own Path In The World In These Fairy Tales, Women Young And Old Tell Their Own Stories Of Love And Hate, Honor And Revenge, Passion And Deception Using The Intricate Patterns And Oral Rhythms Of Traditional Fairy Tales, Emma Donoghue Wraps Age Old Characters In A Dazzling New Skin List Of Popular Paperbacks For YA


10 thoughts on “Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins

  1. says:

    There are some tales not for telling, whether because they are too long, too precious, too laughable, too painful, too easy to need telling or too hard to explain I feel that this quote describes the essence of Donoghue s book in a poignant and clear way This isn t a collection of short stories in the traditional sense of the word It is a series of tales closely linked to each other The stories of women who loved, yearned, who were hurt by others, who sought revenge, justice, comfort Each story is narrated by a woman to the female protagonist of the previous tale and the legends pass from one woman to another If nothing else, this shows that those we have come to regard as the good or the bad characters of a tale are not very different from each other.If you read my reviews, you ll notice that Emma Donoghue is a writer I swear by I may sound as a fangirl, but she can do no wrong in my book Everything I ve read of her has left me speechless, has moved me beyond words Her books are in my all time top 10 and I hereby unashamedly admit I would read her shopping list She is on a pedestal, along with Jeanette Winterson, Hannah Kent and a few selected others whose books I d read even if they d come without front cover, title or synopsis Kissing the Witch is a book that contains the best retellings of the most well known and beloved fairy tales of our childhood Yes, in Donoghue s hands a story about 4 5 pages at most becomes better than major retellings struggling to come through out of an entire book of normal length This is why there are authors who create sentences that enclose the world The world Donoghue has chosen is the one of fairy tales passed down from generation to generation.Each story bears the title The Kiss of I found the choice of the word kiss particularly interesting A kiss is an act of tenderness, affection and love However, the kiss also carries the connotation of betrayal and treachery, bringing to mind Jesus betrayal by Judas with a kiss So,a kiss is a highly ambiguous symbol In the book, there are many kisses The kiss of the Bird, the Rose a beautiful reimagining of Beauty and the Beast , the Apple, the Handkerchief, the Hair, the Brother, the Spinster, the Skin a tale as disturbing and dark as it is beautiful , the Needle, the Voice The story named simply The Kiss brings us full circle.Cinderella, Beauty, Aurora, the Goose Girl, the Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, all the fairytales we grew up with are present in a volume that talks about Otherness and Alienation Donoghue uses the legends of the past to show how society transformed women who refused to follow the norms and the rules of patriarchy into witches, monsters, creatures that must be exiled in order not to defile the others and, especially, the younger women Women who love women and were regarded as anomalies of nature , women who sought justice and revenge, equal opportunities to power and respect for their abilities, women who could heal and help others were brought to scorn, to persecution and, eventually, to a pyre or a noose because they were deemed too dangerous to the foundations of a world built by narrow mindedness and utter lack of education.The way Donoghue writes is nothing short of astonishing When I read one of her books, I recognise her voice in the text and yet, each one of her works is so different and so unique Kissing the Witch falls into so many categories Fantasy, Fairytales, LGBT Literature, Feminism These are not just retellings of the stories of princesses and witches There are themes under the allegories relevant to the discrepancies against women in the past and in the present Because, let s face it For some people, we ll never stop being the evil witches of their own little stories Of course, they probably don t know that many of us would carry the title proudly knowing its true meaning This is the story you asked for I leave it in your mouth


  2. says:

    Frustratingly simplistic These are easy reversals of fairy tales, and stand or fall based entirely on the reader s agreement with the reversal, rather than as stories on their own I like the idea of lesbian friendly fairy tales I, for one, am someone who always wanted to kiss the witch, as the title proclaims but there must be a way of telling those stories without leeching all the power of the original Threat is powerful the danger and ugliness of fairy tales are why they have stayed with us so long If all the witches and the stepmothers are good, if all Rapunzel wants is to stay in her tower and love her foster mother, what is the story about These versions too often felt that they were going for the easy way, switching the fairy tales simply to make all the female characters amicable to one another I would like romantic love between women which is a little hard won, not the twist ending that these stories made it And if Snow White is going to stay with the stepmother who did threaten to kill her, I d like a little of the emotional complexity behind that decision.I m so hard on these stories partly because they came so near to being something that I would love And I very much wanted to love them, but in the end they were just too straightforward, their prose affected rather than organic, each ending on the same emotional note And there are better fairy tale rewrites out there try the terribly under appreciated Donna Jo Napoli, who is all about emotional complexity.


  3. says:

    Out of all the so far 72 books I have read this year, this one was DEFINITELY my favourite, and yet I know it won t be for everyone It s a group of short stories, familiar fairy tales rewritten to be very feminist, somewhat queer in the broad sense and to link together so that each story is the story of one of the characters in it who interacts with another character and at the end of each story the next character is asked to tell their story.The magic in the story is sort of made natural and earthy instead of as fantastical These are stories of women s relationships of love, hate, rivalry, betrayal, sisterhood Men figure as fathers, brothers, love or lust objects and frequently weak or betraying side characters.The writing is very calm and deceptively simple there is just enough description but not self indulgent waffling There are some sex scenes but they are written obliquely rather than graphically The stories tantalise because at the end of each I wanted detail and follow up for characters I had bonded with but the book s progress was always on to another story I half hoped the circle would be completed at the end but even though the stories link in a chain each is a tantalising stand alone.But although there are details left not coloured in like how did a woman in one of the stories become a horse That never gets explained overall each story is satisfying whether it is sad or romantic there is hardship and conflict and the difficulties of social class and personal flaws in each heroine but the stories overall are about strength, courage, resourcefulness and redemtion each in its own way.I think my favourite one was the cottage, because it took the earliest story I can remember hearing from my parents and changed it beyond recognition Also because the characters in it were morally complexthough that is true for the whole book The pace of the stories may be simple but the bad guys are not really bad they each have a place in society that constructs who they are as do our heroines The balance between what society makes each character and how they fight to define themselves over against social determinism is part of what I loved.And for me here s the part not everyone will like I like women loving women in a storyand there is plenty of that While sex is not absent, the focus is on intimacy, comfort, nurture and friendship As I prefer it I don t think it s one you d try to stop your kids reading.


  4. says:

    4.5 stars This is a very creative, atmospheric book of fairy tale retellings, with some of the best writing I ve ever seen I love how three dimensional some of the tales are, and how she got these lovely characters developed in so short a time The Tale of the Shoe 5 stars I don t think anyone can ever understand how much I love this Cinderella retelling It s about being who you re supposed to be, or being who you truly are And then, because I asked, she took me to the ball Isn t that what girls are supposed to ask for The Tale of the Bird 4 stars This is a story about freedom and making your own decisions It ties in much smoothly with its predecessor than many of the stories tie together He would never let anything hurt me, but he would never let anything touch me either The Tale of the Rose This retelling of Beauty and the Beast gets five stars simply for its last line, which is one of my favorite quotes of all time Aside from the last line, I suppose this isn t much of a retelling, but it s enjoyable and emotional nonetheless I can t say the quote because it spoils everything, but I loved it so much I accidentally memorized it The Tale of the Apple 5 stars A pitch perfect retelling of Snow White with far strong girls This almost reminded me of Once Upon A Time s morally grey queen Also, it connects nicely to its predecessor Say that I am queen, she said, her fingers whitening around the scepter.If you really were, I told her, it would need no saying. The Tale of the Handkerchief 5 stars This isn t a typical retelling I suppose you could call it The Goose Girl, but it comes from the point of view of that story s villain This is an odd, yet strangely enticing story The ending is especially beautiful And then the tears did come, and I hoped they were for her, a queen dead in her prime, and not just for my own treacherous self. The Tale of the Hair 3 stars I don t love this story it s not very strong thematically, and the main character is slightly obnoxious That being said, it s interesting and enticing and definitely worth a read You should ve known better than to give me what I asked for, I whispered Now the wind is scented with lavender, and the wolves howl because they cannot have him, and when he blows his horn, I will go to him. The Tale of the Brother 4 stars I have no idea what happened in this story but I enjoyed it It s sort of a retelling of Hansel and Gretel but not quite I have never been content to be nothing but a girl. The Tale of the Spinster 3 stars A retelling of Rumplestiltskin This one is interesting, although not the strongest thematically If I have trampled you, it was to mesh your fibers into something useful The Tale of the Cottage 2 stars The voice is just too weird and disjointed here I understand the point, but this retelling of Hansel and Gretel just falls flat The Tale of the Skin 5 stars A princess who runs to become a pauper, a pauper who fails at getting the prince There is something so unspeakably beautiful about this story It s so messed up and so gorgeous It s also the source of one of my other favorite quotes from this brief book See this leaf, little girl, blackened under the snow It has died so it will be born again on the branch in spring time Once I was a stupid girl now I am an angry woman Sometimes you must shed your skin to save it. The Tale of the Needle 4 stars A retelling of sleeping beauty that discusses the darker elements of the tale for example, that the parents keep their daughter locked away for her whole life I was innocent of all effort I was blank as a page. The Tale of the Voice 5 stars This retelling of The Little Mermaid addresses the fact that a woman must lose her voice to get the man of her dreams Here, the witch is not the villain the girl s own worshipful love is Perhaps we get not what we deserve, but what we demand The Tale of the Kiss 5 stars This story is a show stopper, written with such a gorgeous voice I love the main character here Power I had to learn how to pick up without getting burnt, how to shape it and conceal it and flaunt it and use it, and when to use it, and when to still my breath and do nothing at all This aching short story collection is recommended to everyone.


  5. says:

    Climbing to the witch s cave one day, I called out, Who were you before you came to live here And she said, Will I tell you my own story It is a tale of a kiss Do you ever find a book and just know it s going to be everything you love in the world Only you can t read it right away because it s not the right time, or you re not in the right mood, and you want everything to be perfect What if you re wrong about it and it doesn t live up to your expectations How will you find another story to fill the void So it sits on your shelf or at the back of your mind, consciously overlooked, patiently waiting for you to get your shit together and give it a read In the orchard, I asked, Who were you before you married my father And she said, Will I tell you my own story It is a tale of a handkerchief Kissing the Witch was like that for me I love kisses I love witches I love stories about ladies, and lady relationships, and lady rivalries tempered with empathy and an understanding of both sides I love retellings of fairy tales, especially when they come in collections of short stories Plus I already knew that I liked Emma Donoghue s writing quite a lot, so with all of that going for it, naturally this book called out to me And so I bought it And so I hesitated I stumbled along the bridge, caught her sleeve and asked, Who were you before you became Little Sister And she said, Tell you story Tale of cottage Luckily for me, Kissing the Witch was all I wanted it to be and In this collection, thirteen reworked fairy tales are linked by a common thread of each woman being asked by another who they were before Before they became witches, stepmothers, spinsters, beasts or crones, they were princesses maids sisters daughters simply girls with their own familiar stories The thread winds back through generations of storytelling, ending with the origin of the kiss seeking witch herself Each heroine makes her own decisions Each woman takes her classic story into her own hands, and takes responsibility for the things she s done Most importantly, each one listens to the other and to herself an orphaned princess hears out her stepmother an imprisoned queen asks after the past life of a rescued bird a Cinderella runs from the ball not because it s midnight, but because her fairy saviour is far beautiful and interesting than her besotted prince Gathering my thoughts, I wonder, who was I before I opened this book And I say, Will I tell you my own story It is the tale of a market saturated with re imagined fairy tales billing themselves as original and groundbreaking, when in fact some of the best such stories are already out there Gail Carson Levine was my favourite as a kid The Rose and the Beast Fairy Tales Retold fundamentally affected me when I read it in my teens The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is one of my all time favourites, period And now I can firmly place Kissing the Witch on the same pedestal in my heart It was wonderful and thoughtful and brilliant and poetic and wise, and I just want to read it again and again.


  6. says:

    At first glance, Kissing the Witch appears to be a simple anthology of fairy like tales Upon deeper reading, it becomes clear that the separate stories are fragments or different points of viewing one continuous thread The way that the fragments are woven together is brilliant.Early, the reader is aware that there are continual suggestions of tales that he she has heard since childhood Hints are dropped here and there and they glimmer beneath the surface of the text The images are repeatedly revisited and the reader is invited to gather them and piece them into any of several possible interpretations.Reading the book is like following behind Hansel and Gretel picking up the strewn clues and seeking the the messages hidden along the paths The plot twists and turns at a dizzying rate of speed, weaving an intricate and passionate tapestry that celebrates and empowers woman in her universal quest to know and befriend all of the complex voices within herself.


  7. says:

    I picked this up because Kirsty Logan of The Gracekeepers said that it was very influential for her These are fairytale retellings with a feminist twist They re also stacked like Russian dolls, so at the end of one retelling you ll have the villain tell their backstory, and the witch of one tale becomes the heroine of the next Your favourite fairy tale will probably be in here There s a Little Mermaid retelling which was probably my favourite.


  8. says:

    Climbing to the witch s cave one day, I called out,Who were youbefore you came to live here And she said, Will I tell you my own story It is a tale of a kiss I had heard of Emma Donoghue mostly because people kept talking about her novel Room This, however, was the first encounter I have had with her writing Kissing the Witch is a clever little book that takes well known fairy tales and tells them from the perspective of different women involved in the stories Each story is then linked through the characters who each tell their own story It s a lovely structure and the book made for captivating reading After all, Donoghue is a great story teller However, if we criticise that fairy tales are in need of modernisation because of the dated stereotypes and gender inequality, then Donoghue s approach is equally flawed It s an entertaining read but hardly any of the male characters are portrayed as decent human beings It just doesn t do to try and fight fire with fire or in this case sexism with sexism 2.5 really but not rounding up.


  9. says:

    Donoghue combines self righteous messages with blatantly didactic interior monologues which can only appeal to those already believing everything she says She spurs no thought which was not already there, and in writing a book which never aspired to art, has done what your average writer does increase the general volume of words in print, and nothing A string of random monkey typed characters would have aided mankind as well.


  10. says:

    If I were to use one word to describe this book, it would be clever Change for your own sake, if you must, not for what you imagine another will ask of you These are considered fairytale re tellings with a feminist twist, but the best part is that they are all connected as a woman asks the other who they were before , and together they make a novel that leaves you begging for .They were girls, princesses, innocent or not so, all before they became witches, stepmothers, crones These stories speak of their rivalries, loves, endurance, relationships, how everything amounts to who we are and what we do, a fight against perfection, betrayal, hate There are some tales not for telling, whether because they are too long, too precious, too laughable, too painful, too easy to need telling or too hard to explain After all, after years and travels my secrets are all I have left to chew on in the night