Recommended Reads: Winter's Tales by Isak Dinesen

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Winter Tales by Isak Dinesen

Today is the Winter Solstice and what could possibly be more appropriate than a great book recommendation to read indoors on the shortest day of the year. I'm so excited to share this wonderful recommendation by Stephanie of even*cleveland, one of my favorite daily reads. Stephanie's blog is an impeccably curated selection of art, literature, and imaginary outfits. I feel like my intelligence jumps a level or two along with each visit. So without further ado:

Hello there. This is Stephanie of even*cleveland. My recommended read for these darkening midwinter nights is Isak Dinesen's Winter's Tales.

Being a reader is a bittersweet thing - when you begin, you embark into the world of story wide-eyed and fresh. Everything is new and seems limitless. But gradually, the terrain becomes familiar, and that feeling of exhilarated surrender to something powerful, foreign and strange becomes rarer and rarer. These splintery little fairy tales recapture that magic for me. Dinesen is better known for Out of Africa (and justly - it's near perfect) but these odd little stories, rigid with magic and relentless fate, deserve reading. Like all the best fairy tales, they are ruthless and surprising, and just edged with the supernatural. They often don't begin or end where you expect they will, and the magic, while there, feels weirdly ordinary. You can't help half-believing them. Eudora Welty said that these stories 'come toward one like the flashes and signal-beams from a lighthouse on a strange and infrequently sighted coast - a coast beautiful and precarious, for it may be the last outreach of magic, but resting on bedrock.' It's an apt description - reading them, you feel you get a glance into a world that lies aslant our own, where people live and die with broken hearts, old women turn into falcons, and lovers are lost on ice floes.

Thank you, Erica, for asking me to do this!

Thank you so much, Stephanie! I've already started to read my copy from the library.

5 comments:

evencleveland said...

Aw, man, thank you. I hope you like the book!

karinalane said...

I love Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen! You must read Babette's Feast too, it's amazing....

secret, fragile skies said...

Stephanie is amazing ~ brilliant. I, too, feel smarter after reading her blog! Thanks for the book recommendation!

Julie said...

sounds amazing!! I'll have to get my hands on a copy....

MegBP said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I just added it to my "to read" list on goodreads! It sounds a bit like some of the Hans Christian Anderson tales. I'm reading the Annotated Brother Grimms tales now and enjoying them very much. The idea of the solstice and the depth of winter always make me think of Ron Hansen's story "Wickedness" in Nebraska: Stories. No story has ever made me feel colder!

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