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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Novels Inspired by Fairy Tales

On January 17, I wrote about novels inspired by mythology.  While working on that blog entry, I also found some titles of novels inspired by fairy tales though Schatje’s Shelves has only half a dozen of these:

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire is a retelling of the Cinderella tale and his Mirror, Mirror draws a connection between the poison apple in the original Snow White story and the Borgia family's well-known appetite for poisoning its foes.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi uses the classic Snow White conceit to explore issues of race in 1950s America. The wicked stepmother banishing her daughter for being too fair is seen in a whole new light.
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is a re-imagining of Rapunzel.
Snow White by Donald Barthelme is a satiric modern retelling of the classic fairy tale which provides a commentary on the absurdities and complexities of modern life.  The seven dwarves are men who live communally with Snow White and earn a living by washing buildings and making Chinese baby food.
Pinocchio in Venice by Robert Coover is a comic fable.  Pinocchio, his wish granted, is an aged, much-honoured scholar who returns home to complete a book on the Blue-Haired Fairy and to die: he is returning to wood.

Obviously, my collection is not extensive in this genre.  I did, however, come across a useful website ( which has a comprehensive list of novels, stories, and poetry collections which make use of fairy tales, folktales, and folk ballads, re-envisioned for modern readers.

And on the topic of fairy tales, research shows that some are much older than previously thought: