Title: The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Challenge: calico_reaction's Book Club - August Challenge (Bonus)
This volume collects two books: The Book of the Steppe and The Book of the Sea. In each there are many tales interconnected through the many different characters. It has a very mythological and fable feeling to it which Valente executes perfectly. I really became absorbed in these tales and their many characters and their many stories.
Since I also read Palimpsest by the same author for this same challenge I have to make some comparisons. I don't think it is as poetic or abstract as Palimpsest but it is just as magical and special. I think Palimpsest was more of an experience whereas the craft of the tales in In the Night Garden really stood out. I loved both immensely. Also, I think Palimpsest is the type of book not everyone would like and In the Night Garden I would say most would enjoy and should read once in their lives.
One thing I also noticed with the stories in In the Night Garden was that I think Valente didn't try to pretend that fables or other tales did not exist and she often made small tweaks that left me smiling. For example, on page 128 the stepmother says "Didn't you know? All stepmothers are witches. It is our compensation for remaining forever an intruder in another woman's house." Valente is very creative and I think that's what I love most about her stories, other than the exquisite writing.
I think this month's challenge was well worth it. I'm glad I ordered both of Valente's books because I think she has become one of my favorite authors. I will definitely read more from her especially the next volume of The Orphan's Tales, In the Cities of Coin and Spice.