The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
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A glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian Fairy Tale, done with heart and wisdom. (Neil Gaiman )
An Alice in Wonderland for the 21st century... So effortless, so vivid, so funny. Every page has a phrase or observation to savour and her characters are wondrous creations. (Sunday Telegraph )
A charming modern fairytale...with a knowing twinkle in its eye (Telegraph )
Bundles of imagination and wry wit... This is a sophisticated world of forfeits, paradoxes and tricks. (Financial Times )
A mad, toothsome romp of a fairy tale - full of oddments, whimsy, and joy. (Holly Black )
If you haven't heard of Catherynne Valente, give it time. She's only 32, and she's writing at a furious pace. Valente brings fathomless inventiveness to her fiction... A book for young adults, rich and strange enough for grown-ups, too. (Lev Grossman )
A whole esoteric world of whimsy - Alice meets the Wizard of Oz meets the Persephone story with a whiff of Narnia. (Independent on Sunday )
...it is in fact one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy for adults or children so far this century. (Lev Grossman Time )
Sweet fairytale, shot through with salty tears - magic! (Cory Doctorow )
Get swept away by this charming book (Vogue )
Pure escapism (Bliss magazine )
Prepare to be swept away to a land unlike any other, with a cast of friends you'll have for life. A charming modern fairytale with crossover appeal, full of 'oddments, wisdom and joy' (Holly Black)See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a sucker for a twisted fairytale, and in a sense I suppose this qualifies as that. It's narrated in an utterly delightful and direct fashion and is much more realistic (if that's possible) than most fairy stories.
I adored every second of it, and highly recommend it.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - hereafter referred to as The Girl Who... - is gorgeously written. Its prose is stunning and was made for reading aloud, chock-full of alliterations, rhyming and just generally beautiful passages. And that is just the words on the page; the text is heavily layered with different meanings. Plus there are lovely allusions to other classical works such as The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. I had a lot of fun spotting these and making the connections. The Girl Who... would probably be a very rewarding book to reread, as I'd guess you'll find new things in it every time. The narrative is also quite self aware, with a narrator that addresses the reader directly and talks about the conventions of story-telling and warns the reader when he is about to break them. I really liked this aspect and the narrative voice, which was warm and at time gently mocking the goings-on in the book.Read more ›
My initial frustration was with the relentless bombardment of inventions, which while omnipresent were not especially imaginative. It's as though Valente took Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, Harry Potter and a few others, threw them in a blender, and then poured the mixture arbitrarily into chapter-sized saucepans. One example that jumps out: in the Narnia books C.S. Lewis created the incredibly evocative 'Wood Between the Worlds.' Valente adds the thinnest coat of varnish imaginable to his idea, calling it 'The Closet Between Worlds.' Seriously?!? If this is meant to parody Narnia, I don't get it. If it's not meant as parody, it's hard to think of a less imaginative piece of literary theft; why not just name one’s villain 'Snarth Vader'?
What is that makes Oz, Wonderland, Narnia, and Middle Earth so wonderfully alive and evocative while the oodles of imitations always feel so lifeless and emotionally tone-deaf?Read more ›
It's a pretty typical fantasy storyline as well, and it takes something special to make such stories stand out. Catherynne Valente's "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making" is an enchanting example, filled with delightful nonsense, wryly witty prose, and a wonderfully oddball world that reminds me of a more lyrical Lewis Carroll.
A young girl named September is whisked away from her boring Nebraska home by the Green Wind, who takes her to Fairyland. But September soon finds herself traveling through Fairyland herself, encountering a soap golem, a half-library wyvern named A-Through-L, a wairwulf, the Perverse and Perilous Sea with its golden beaches, The House Without Warning, gnomish customs agents, a jeweled key, a migration of bicycles.
She also is given a quest by a pair of witches -- find the magical spoon that the cruel Marquess stole from their dead brothers. So she and the Wyverary set out to the city of Pandemonium, but soon find themselves (and a flying leopard named Saturday) on a new quest, with overwhelming results for all the people of Fairyland.
Normally, Catherynne Valente has a lush, lyrical, sensual writing style, and there's a fair amount of that in this book ("... the moon slowly fall down into the horizon and all the dark morning stars turn in the sky like a silver carousel"). Her Fairyland is a weird, sometimes dangerous place filled with countless oddball creatures (migrating bicycles!), making her story feel like a more plotcentric "Alice in Wonderland.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this book yesterday and finished it today. I couldn't put it down. It's indescribably joyful. I laughed, I cried, I ruined my thumbs from gently holding the book open to keep... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pamela Drysdale
I really enjoyed this book. Many of my purchases are audio to listen to while doing other things and the narrator here was brilliant. Read morePublished 3 months ago by S. Strawson
What a lovely story. Sweet, deep, beautiful and rich. A little escape to fairyland for all ages, very well written.Published 4 months ago by Liz
Really nice fun.
Kind of like Alice in Wonderland but for the new millenium!
Alice in Wonderland meets Neil Gaiman via Phillip Pullman... Loved it :)Published 6 months ago by wildgirl
Lovely story on an old theme well written and interesting
Great as a read aloud thoroughly enjoyed can recommend
For all ages
Very inventive story telling - takes the common themes of Fairyland and twists them around to tell a truly unique tale which is enjoyable to read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by A Giardina