The astonishing Orange Prize-shortlisted debut from the author of 'Flying Leap' and 'Nice Big American Baby'. This is a truly strange and striking tale that begins in the deep, and deeply magical, European forest, in the world depicted in Chagall's paintings and Grimms' Fairy Tales, and proceeds to tell the story of four generations of women from one fated family. Budnitz builds her book with wit and art somewhere in the gaps between magic realism, family saga and female bildungsroman. She marries great technical skill to quirky humour and dizzying metaphor. She has an uncanny knack for the destabilizing and indelible image, but does not abandon sense for sensibility. She is always readable, albeit strangely so. She might yet be an Americanized heir to the throne left vacant by Angela Carter.
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In If I Told You Once, Judy Budnitz weaves all the elements of classic storytelling into a novel that is dark and delicious. The novel tells the story of four generations of women, Ilana, Sashie, Mara and Nomie. Ilana starts their story by describing her life in an Eastern European village "where someone had forgotten to use colour." It may be a grey place but it is full of magical adventure and terror. Timber wolves roam, handsome captains tempt young girls and forest spirits fall in love with mortal women and bring "a crown of hemlock and mistletoe, a wedding veil of spider webs" and a rough tongue "that nudged its way up her legs, creeping upward to help itself to the thing she was saving for her future husband" as bridal gifts. Even when Ilana leaves her village for shiny America, the forest and its dark magic come too. Her daughter Sashie is entranced by movie stars and ashy cleanliness. Sashie's daughter grows as bitter and twisted as an ingrown hair from jealousy and it is Nomie, the great-granddaughter, that must try and become a conduit between the past and the future, a living bridge of hope.
While writers like Perrault and the Brothers Grimm gave us such tasty morsels as Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, contemporary authors like Angela Carter, Caroline Duffy and Margaret Atwood have had other uses for enchantment--subversive, sly and wickedly witty usages. Fairy tales are so alluring because they are food and drink to the imagination and the spirit--"the meat of the tongue"--as Marina Warner so enicingly describes in From the Beast to the Blonde. Startling, seductive and unsettling, Budnitz has created a magically modern tale. --Eithne FarryReview:
‘Judy Budnitz’s first novel is no ordinary coming-to-America story. The familiar journey from Old World to New becomes magical in her hands. You’re left with the delicious thrill of having been duped – or have you? – by a master of embellishment.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A startlingly imaginative first novel.’ San Francisco Chronicle
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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007291434 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0982675