#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.

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#BookReview WINDSWEPT by ANNABEL ABBS #NonFiction #Windswept



ABOUT THE BOOK


Annabel Abbs’s Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women is a beautifully written meditation and memoir that reflects on that most fundamental way of connecting with the outdoors: the simple act of walking. In absorbing and transporting prose, Abbs follows in the footsteps of groundbreaking women, including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the French River Garonne, Daphne du Maurier following the River Rhône, and Simone de Beauvoir—who walked as much as twenty-five miles a day in a skirt and espadrilles—in the mountains and forests of France. These trailblazing women were reclaiming what had historically been considered male domains.

The stories of these incredible women and artists are laced together by the wilderness walking in Abbs’s own life, beginning with her poet father who raised her in the Welsh countryside as an “experiment,” according to the principles of Rousseau. Windswept is an inventive retrospective and an arresting look forward to the way walking brings about a kind of clarity of thought not found in any other activity, and how it has allowed women throughout history to reimagine their lives and break free from convention. As Abbs traces the paths of these exceptional women, she realizes that she, too, is walking away from, and towards, a very different future. Windswept crosses continents and centuries in an arresting and stirring reflection on the power of walking in nature.

PUBLISHED BY TWO ROADS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Just glorious!! I found this book to be inspiring, thought provoking, educational, fascinating and just wonderful!

The author uses her own life experiences, especially when she found herself in hospital unable to walk, to explore the art of walking and the fact that there was very few books around by women about walking and their adventures, when there are so many by men. With extensive research she uncovers some amazing characters – many of whom I had heard nothing about – and has brought their stories to life by challenging herself to walk the routes they did in the past, and this really just makes this book so immersive and inspiring.

The women she features are Frieda Lawrence, Gwen John, Clara Vyvyan, Nan Shepherd, Simone de Beauvoir, Georgia O’Keefe, but there is also reference to Daphne Du Maurier and Emma Gatewood.
All very different women but all sharing a deep passion for walking, exploring – and shockingly for women – walking by themselves!! The shame!! But in their adventures they enjoyed the freedom it gave them and allowed them to find their own minds, and the author shared these feelings as she uses each chapter to share her walk, alongside that of the woman she was walking in the footsteps of. There’s a look back in time to the lives of these amazing women, their trials and tribulations, the scandals, alongside her own experiences and thoughts on the changes over time as to the attitudes towards a variety of different topics.

It explores the benefits to your health of walking, the stories of the kindness of strangers met along the way, the pitfalls and reality of walking in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and the overwhelming sense of achievement and confidence these women had when they had finished a walk. And how eager they were to go on other adventures. Some weren’t afraid to go against convention, some lost their families over their actions, but most were just inspired by the solace they felt while walking, despite all of them having a real strong attachment to ‘home’ and realising just how little they needed in their lives.

I learnt so much about these women as the author relayed their stories, alongside her own walking experiences and how that time alone gave her time to think over her life choices. Reading about these women, inspired me to research a little more about them and their work and it’s been enlightening to learn more about these amazing women. The way the author connected with each woman also made this more of an experience as she wanted to feel what

It is one of those books that inspires, educates and just makes you want to walk!! To use your time wisely, and when you get the chance to grab that time for yourself and go out exploring, no matter how near or far!

★★★★★