Leurs Contes de Perrault: My Review


First of all, I want you to know that I’m going to review this book in English, because this is what I always do on here. However, it has not been translated in English (yet?) or any other language for that matter. But if you speak French you can (and should definitely) check it out as I highly recommend it!

Genre: Short stories, Adult Fiction, Retellings
Released in 2015
My rating: ★★★★☆

Why did I read this book?

I have mentioned it here and there on the blog, I am going to write a paper on retellings for my Master’s degree and I wanted to work on fairytales. I eventually chose Cinderella because my tutor said I could work on The Lunar Chronicles (EXCUSE ME BUT ISN’T THIS AWESOME I AM SO EXCITED) and this book includes a retelling of Cinderella so that’s the first reason why I picked it up.

The second reason is (and I probably mentioned this as well) that when I went to Paris’s annual bookfair, I attended a meeting with Michael Cunningham and another French author, Nathalie Azoulai, where they talked about fairytales and retellings, and she just so happened to have written a short story retelling of Cinderella, and long story short, it was the one included in that book and will be part of my work next year!

What else do you need to know about this book?

It’s written by a collective which means that 11 different authors participated, and each wrote a short story. Each of these stories is a retelling for one of Charles Perrault’s fairytales (including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss-in-Boots, Blue Beard, Sleeping Beauty and more.)

My opinion:

The last similar book I have read was The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, and if you have read my review, you know that I found it rather disturbing and overall didn’t really enjoy it. However, this was not the case for this book, as I did really like it. It was not the absolute best book ever however I found myself trapped in this book without being able to put it down for most of the stories.

Unlike The Bloody Chamber it does not take a dark twist on the stories, however it adds a modern touch to them, which was probably my favourite part of it. Let me take two examples: the cat for Puss-in-Boots is actually a virtual cat, living in a computer. And Cinderella’s retelling concentrates on the condition of women and how we are not allowed freedom (it also included an unexpected LGBT character, which was a surprising touch that made the story even better in my opinion).

I felt that the authors also managed to bring more diversity to the tales, by making them more modern. It also has touches of One Thousand and One Night and The Odyssey in some of the stories, nicely mixing up different part of your heritage in a way which I really enjoyed.

Overall, I felt that the authors each stayed very faithful to the original story, each in their own way, and bringing it a very pleasant modern touch. It’s a book I would recommend if you are looking for something new and different. I would not say it is exactly refreshing as some stories are darker than others, however it is definitely an interesting and pleasant read, and a must-read if you are a fairytale lover and craving for more retellings!


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