Beauty (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 30 Oct 2014
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Beauty is the half mortal, half fairy daughter of a 14th century English duke. A fairy curse puts the entire household into an extended sleep, but Beauty escapes using a magic cloak. Outside the castle, she is captured by a film crew from the 21st century who have come to film the end of magic. Beauty lives for a while in the overpopulated, ugly 21st century where nature has been completely destroyed by humans and magic no longer works. She escapes, and her subsequent adventures take her to imaginary countries, the land of Faery, the late 20th century (where she is brutally raped), and to various times during her own century where her descendants become, in turn, Cinderella, Snow White and the Frog Prince.
Like much of Tepper's fiction, this book is driven by a controlled fury. She sees the destruction of beauty all around us by those who believe humanity has a right to use up the rest of nature, and this book is a stark warning that if we don't change our ways we will destroy the world. Her heroine is the guardian of all that is beautiful in the world, of all that is being devoured by human greed. An angry novel, it makes its point heavy-handedly in places, but with great poignancy overall. It's a powerful and thought-provoking read. Elizabeth Sourbut --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
"Tepper is awise and compassionate narrator, and when it comesto spinning a yarn that you don't ever want tostop reading, there are few better spinners thanshe."--The Magazine Of Fantasy & ScienceFiction
"Magnificent. . .This adult fairly taleentertains and delivers a message in the besttradition of the fantasy classics."--TheDenver Post."
-Tepper is a wise and compassionate narrator, and when it comes to spinning a yarn that you don't ever want to stop reading, there are few better spinners than she.---The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction
-Magnificent. . .This adult fairly tale entertains and delivers a message in the best tradition of the fantasy classics.---The Denver Post.
"Tepper is a wise and compassionate narrator, and when it comes to spinning a yarn that you don't ever want to stop reading, there are few better spinners than she."--The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Top customer reviews
The middle sections of the book, however, were profoundly disappointing, not to say unsettling. This was not so much because of the journeying through time, although I thought that a poorly-incoporated plot-device, but the nature of the challenges the protaganist encounters. Whilst I think that very disturbing themes can successfully and sensitively be encorporated into fairy-tale fantasy fiction (and Robin McKinley's wonderful "Deerskin" is a great example of this) I felt that in Tepper's "Beauty", these themes were presented almost as arguments to prove various "points". This is not to say I'm not in favour of novels which address issues of gender equality or exploitation, or of man's relation to the environment, it is just that I felt that these points felt laboured within "Beauty". This laboured approach is perhaps most tellingly demonstrated in the account of the heroine's visit to hell, which was rather medieval in its almost smug descriptions of the physical discomfiture of those who had transgressed, particularly against women. There should be better, stronger and higher arguments against rape than that the perpetrator will suffer for it. (I also felt that a book which took such a strong moral position in relation to some issues ought not to have contained some of the disturbing assumptions it did: that, for example, the heroine's daughter can be evil and tainted from birth.)
The overall tone of the book, then, feels didactic, with many characters seeming reduced to cyphers or stereotypes so that individuals fail to disrupt the "pattern" of the very flawed world Tepper presents her reader with. For my personal tastes, too, the conclusion had a rather weak spirituality, whilst the proposal that the "flawed" world should be allowed to self-destruct, only to allow a new one to spring from the seed of the sleeping Beauty, seemed to destroy the significance of all the novel's (under-developed) characters apart from the protagonist.
All this said, I read the novel quite a number of years ago, and it has clearly made a very strong impression on me! I was tempted to give this work only 2 stars, but I realised that my deepest criticisms of at are rather personal: others may find Tepper's concentration on issues rather than characters refreshing, and her style enthralling.
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