Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Swan Maiden, Jules Watson

My thoughts: I really like the girl on the cover's hair; in fact I'm quite jealous of it seeing as how I have been sporting a short lopsided hairdo this spring. Also Deirdre, the magical Irish Helen of Troy Druid Priestess with great hair can inhabit the bodies of animals, plants, & objects at will. At one point she was a inside a boulder feeling quite tragic and all I could think about was Sylvester and the Magic Pebble... how did William Steig come up with that story and to have Sylvester be a donkey too? I love that book and once spent an entire remedial reading group afternoon with 2nd graders attempting to draw Sylvester instead of attempting to slug our way through more phonics (there is only so much slugging through that a group of late reading 8 year olds can take in one day).

So clearly, I'm not the biggest fan of this book since I spent time while reading to ponder William Steig, but as usual, I still felt compelled to finish it. I did like reading the afterward about the actual mythology the story was based on and it sounds a lot more interesting than the book was. I like how Publishers Weekly summed this one up (a lot more tactfully than I could do it):

"This modern retelling of a tragic Irish myth is rich in well-researched detail but moves too slowly and reverently. Deirdre, a young woman prophesied to bring down the kingdom of Ulster, is torn between druidical mysticism and her love for Naisi, a warrior prince who flees with her to protect her from Ulster's covetous king. Watson (The Song of the North) emphasizes the sensuality suggested in the myth and carefully recreates the culture and people of Iron Age Ireland, but the grandeur and elegance of the original are lost in overwriting, clichéd scenes of passion and an interminable build to the inevitable conclusion." via Amazon

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