Monday, April 19, 2010

Tanith Lee's Red as Blood

Sometimes when I read fairy tales I try to recreate what it might have felt like to read them for the first time-the fear of the villain, the uncertainty of the ending. Reading the stories from Tanith Lee's Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, I don't have to try to feel fear or curiosity. She blends tradional fairy tale plots with truly horrifying twists.

It's hard to pick a favorite, because they're all excellent, but I couldn't help wishing some filmmaker would make a short version of "Thorns," the Sleeping Beauty, because it has such delightfully macabre descriptions that have the potentially to be visually stunning. I also thought "When the Clock Strikes," the Cinderella tale, was particularly genious. The plot was actually more convincing than the traditional tale.

But, as Beauty and the Beast tales will always be close to my heart, I adored "Beauty." The first time I read this book, I was terrified by the time I got to this last story that it would be twisted beyond recognition like the other tales. I enjoy speculating about Snow White and Rapunzel being Satanic, but Beauty and the Beast is too personal to me-I would hate for Beauty to cast the spell on the Beast, or for the Beast to be a true monster of nightmares. Yet the story, though definitely with a twist, is beautiful and won't offend Batb freaks like me. It is set in the future and is my favorite short story version of Beauty and the Beast, which is saying a LOT, because of all the genres, there are a lot of short story versions out there.

This book isn't for everyone-those who don't like scary movies or having the plots of their favorite tales turned upside down on their heads should stay away. But as far as quality and creativity goes I can't recommend it highly enough-each time I read this book I can hardly put it down.


  1. Have you heard The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter? It sounds a lot like this, and it has a couple of her versions of Beauty and the Beast-

  2. Hey! Sorry, didn't see this comment till just now. Yes, I've read The Bloody Chamber-it is definitely on my list of things to reread and feature on the blog at some point! Thanks for reading-