07 June 2009

The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spicethe Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente

My review rating: 5 of 5 stars I picked up this book because of the title which caught my eye. What a great line for a poem, I thought. Then as I read I realized I had to have this book. The language is part Arabian Nights and part pure poetry. In fact most of the chapters are in themselves little prose poems, or perhaps flash fiction pieces. Valente (a poet herself) layers image on image with a richness of sensory detail and a wicked sense or surreal humor all of which contributes to a romp through a multi-layered tale within a tale within a tale of fallen stars, bird people, cities made of paper and detritus, the wedding of a sultan's daughter in the dead of winter, women made of grass and tree bark and cows and serpents all from a girl with stories inked on her eyelids (I said surreal, didn't I?). Part Mirrormask, part Arabian Nights, part Charles Dickens, part Jeanette Winterson, and part James Tate, Valente's prose is as beautiful and intriguing as it gets. View all my reviews.

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