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Journey into storytelling,
This review is from: The Castle Of Crossed Destinies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Chances are, you won't have read anything like this before. A disparate group of travellers take refuge for the night in a castle - whereupon they find themselves unable to speak. Intent, nonetheless, on finding some means of communicating with each other, they begin to experiment with a set of tarot cards. Each character takes it in turn to tell the story of how they reached the castle, laying out each in turn, using the images within the cards to represent the stages of their journey.
What unfolds is a dazzling exploration of myth and fairytale, using the archetypes and symbolism of the cards (each of which is displayed in the margin of the page when invoked). Lines of cards - stories - intersect and overlap as more are laid down on the table. In doing so, they echo, contradict, deepen, and borrow from each other as the overall layout grows, adding whole new stories - and ways of reading the existing stories - just from the way they sit beside each other, and what different cards mean in relation to others. Again, the full layout is displayed in the book, once all the tales have been told.
Sometimes the characters in the cards and the stories they tell are archetypes: the Bride, the Warrior, the Alchemist. Sometimes they're literary, or mythological: Oedipus, Mephistopheles, Roland. There are layers upon fascinating layers of symbolism and meaning, here - you could, frankly, go on reading and re-reading this book for months, and not see all it has to offer. Wonderful.