Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Anderson

When it comes to series of books, I'm sort of a catch-and-release collector; I like to spend a few years collecting a series, then another year reading it, and then I either sell it in complete form to a used-bookstore or pass it on as a gift to someone who I think would really enjoy it).

For the last few years I've been working on the Everyman's Library Children's Classic Collection, collecting various versions of fables and fairy tales from throughout the world. But as I'm reading a science fiction update of the classic story The Snow Queen later this month, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the original.

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), most famous in much of the world as the creator of a number of fairy tales, including "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Ugly Duckling", and the "Princess and the Pea", often told stories from multiple points of view (often of inanimate objects, and yes, I think it's fair to say his "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" is a literary ancestor of Toy Story), and although they don't all end "happily ever after" they are compelling and entertaining none the less.

The collection I read was at times humorous, heartbreaking, and in the case of a few stories, horrifying "Big Claus and Little Claus" comes immediately to mind as it focuses on one man tricking another into destroying his own livestock, murdering his grandmother, and committing suicide - for laughs!?!

Although I wasn't familiar with all of the stories, I found them to be quite readable, and am definitely looking forward to enjoying more of this collection when time allows.

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