Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Release Date: Available
This story begins as many other fairy tales do — our heroine is whisked away by a savior of some sort, a fairy godmother or trickster (in this case, the Green Wind), and taken to Fairyland, a place of color and light and life so removed from the nondescript house in Nebraska she’s called home. And in this story, that heroine’s name is September and she is so very young and so very curious and so very untested before arriving in Fairyland, a place that is fundamentally in turmoil.
Her journey through Fairyland introduces her to a wyvern born from a library (a Wyverary as he’s dubbed himself) and a marid named Saturday, among other characters — including the current ruler of Fairyland, the deceitful Marquess. Throughout her journey, September is asked to make uneasy promises and decisions with consequences, growing and learning and losing some of her heart along the way. And we, the reader, are guided by an unknown narrator throughout September’s journeys, a narrator who wistfully remarks upon all September’s decisions with the kind of melancholy and bittersweet knowledge that can only come from experience. By the story’s end, September is whisked back home, with the promise of return to Fairyland the following Spring, as she is lawfully bound to do.
September’s story is, above all else, intoxicating. Valente’s prose weaves a world of shifting, surreal tones that blend and dance and soar to create the world of Fairyland, populated by memorable characters and distinct feelings of fear and uncertainty and wonder, so real that they could only be pulled forward by a place like Fairyland. It is funny and thought provoking and touching in equal measure — it is frustrating and enchanting — a story crafted with language that is simply captivating. The story is brief but beautiful and remarkable. Simply, it’s well worth the read.
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