The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories … a review

This is a book of fairytales, yes, the real kind! I picked it up at the book fair this year judging by it’s beautiful hardback cover. Yes, I am guilty! Anyway, apparently the author Susanna Clarke is quite famous from having written another series of such tales, but I must confess I had never heard of her. So the book has short stories set in strange and mysterious villages, where women weave magic or are woven into it, from time to time. As another reviewer on Goodreads puts it better “She is so good at making a whole world out of hints and references. Notice that she never has to get out of character and explain anything to the reader, she is always able to make the dialogue and the situations do the work for her, letting the action of her scenes reveal everything. This not only creates a strong, confident authorial voice, it also means that she is never obliged to break her pacing to ‘catch us up’, and so the thick, vibrant tone of her stories is never interrupted or betrayed.”

The scenes are usually commonplace and ordinary, but magic, like we all know, lurks behind every other corner. My personal opinion is – read the book if you are fond of fantasy. The style of writing is a bit strange. Not to say that it isn’t good, it is just a little unusual. The plot travels sloooowwwly, and then something quite exciting happens and the pattern is the same for all the stories and that was the thing that kept me going. But the illustrations are beautiful, so beautiful!

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