#BookReview THE FAIRY TELLERS by NICHOLAS JUBBER #nonfiction


ABOUT THE BOOK


Fairy-Tales are not just fairy-tales: they are records of historical phenomena, telling us something about how Western civilisation was formed. In The Fairy-Tellers’ Trail, award-winning travel-writer Nick Jubber explores their secret history of fairy-tales: the people who told them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them.

While there are certain names inextricably entwined with the concept of a fairy-tale, such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, the most significant tellers are long buried under the more celebrated figures who have taken the credit for their stories – people like the Syrian storyteller Youhenna Diab and the Wild Sisters of Cassel. Without them we would never have heard of Aladdin, his Magic Lamp or the adventures of Hansel and Gretel.

Tracking these stories to their sources carries us through the steaming cities of Southern Italy and across the Mediterranean to the dust-clogged alleys of the Maghreb, under the fretting leaves of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy hills of Lapland.

From North Africa and Siberia, this book illuminates the complicated relationship between Western civilization and the ‘Eastern’ cultures it borrowed from, and the strange lives of our long lost fairy-tellers

PUBLISHED BY JOHN MURRAY PRESS

PUBLICATION DATE – 

20TH JANUARY 2022

PRE-ORDER LINKS

KINDLE
AMAZON
BLACKWELL’S

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Jubber is an award-winning travel writer. His journeys have taken him to the Ethiopian highlands, the Afghan lowlands, and the heart of the Sahara. Fascinated by history and its relationship with the present, he explores connections – and mis-connections – across the centuries. In his latest book, this fascination carries him across Europe on a journey from Turkey to Iceland. He has been shortlisted three times for the prestigious Stanford Dolman award (and won it for his debut, ‘The Prester Quest’), and has spoken at major literary festivals including Hay-on-Wye, Edinburgh and Cheltenham. His website is http://www.nickjubber.com and he is on twitter at @jubberstravels

MY REVIEW


This is a truly wonderful book about the origins and storytellers behind the most magical fairy tales that we all take for granted! It’s only when I picked this book up that I realised I knew very little, if anything at all, about how they came to be, and about the people that wrote them! So this book has enlightened me in so many ways, and has just made me want to pick up all the old fairy tales I have to enjoy them once more, and see beyond the ‘Disney’ magic and get a bit more of an understanding and deeper sense of the story behind the story! so to speak!

This is a book that covers geography as it takes you all over the world, history as it looks at the goings on around the writers at the time they wrote them, and all the folk tales that inspired the storytellers to put pen to paper and create these wonderful stories that we all know and love so much.

As well as the well known writers who receive all the plaudits for the fairy tales – Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm – it also does a wonderful job of introducing the many other brilliant storytellers such as Hanna Diyab (Aladdin and Ali Baba), Dortchen Wild and Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve (Beauty and the Beast) to name but a few, and gives you a real insight into their stories and what inspired or prompted them to write.

You really get a great sense of the extensive research that this author has put into this piece of work. He travels across the globe to find out more about these authors and their backgrounds and showing how often the messages behind these stories are often a lot darker and deeper than they appear on the surface. And I think that is why they work on so many levels to different readers. To a child the stories appear full of magic and wonder, to an adult we see the hidden depths to each tale and notice a lot more going on. Many of the writers had such fascinating and often tragic life stories themselves so you can see the correlation between fact and fiction.

This was a book that has reignited my passion for fairy tales and I’m eager to start picking them up all over again now that I know more about the past of the writers and what led them to create the characters and situations in each tale. A truly fascinating and absorbing piece of writing!


★★★★★

 My thanks to Alice Rowe at The Book Publicist for the advance reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.