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Beauty (Spectra Special Editions) Paperback – March 1, 1992

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Beauty (Spectra Special Editions) + The Gate to Women's Country
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Product Details

  • Series: Spectra Special Editions
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (March 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553295276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553295276
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest from the talented Tepper ( The Gate to Women's Country ) is many things: a fantasy of manners, a dystopian science fiction tale, a time-travel story and an eco-morality play. Still more impressive is the evolution of the narrator and title character, whom we follow for a century of life (ages 16 to 116) as she matures gradually and subtly from a pouty, slightly spoiled daughter of a duke to a wise old woman. Retelling various fairy tales, Tepper strips away each story's gloss. Sleeping Beauty's sleep continues endlessly, prince notwithstanding; Cinderella is as heartless and nasty to her ugly stepsisters as they are to her; and Snow White is a blond bimbo, while the dwarfs are a querulous collection of Basque brothers. Tepper manages to maintain interest, style and theme throughout these disparate elements, and she consistently sniffs out the ugly (e.g., the storybook land of Chinanga, which has all the facets of a fairyland but is an extremely boring place to live). Despite an often depressing worldview, this is a beautiful book from one of the genre's best writers.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Many a reader has had the sometimes sobering, sometimes epiphanic experience of rereading a favorite from her youth only to discover that its remembered charms only scratched the surface of its treasures. Beauty is such a book. It takes the form of a diary, written by a 15-year-old girl of noble birth, begun in 1347 as the unsuspecting heroine is about to embark upon a harrowing journey through time and space. It is not long before readers recognize the writer as a familiar character, ``Sleeping Beauty.'' Tepper's triumph in this novel is in turning Beauty simultaneously into a distinctive human character and a glowing symbol of humanity's hope. Her victory over the fantastic circumstances of her life (and do not make the mistake of assuming that familiarity with the fairy tale is familiarity with the plot) will be shared by readers. Language, story, and setting combine to enliven the character and amplify the theme. The fairy-tale allusions might provide an excellent English-class exercise, while the ethical systems presented should make for lively debate. And when today's young readers return to Beauty at age 40, they won't be disappointed. --Cathy Chauvette, Fairfax County Pub . Lib . , VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book was very interesting because it was so...different.
Laura Burwell
And like some of her other books 'Beauty' is at once too long, too inoherent and too confused.
The land of the faerys was accurate with most legends of the faerys.
yh tac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Daniel H. Bigelow VINE VOICE on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
In this novel by renowned author Sheri S. Tepper, one woman -- a young fifteenth century noble, Beauty by name -- finds that she is a pivotal character in a number of familiar fairy stories as she haplessly travels through the past and future, and lands real and imagined, on her way to a bizarre destiny.

Tepper is at her most engaging when she slyly retells the classic fairy tales, adding a cynical, sometimes earthy slant that can engage the reader's more adult sensibilities even as the familiar patterns of the old stories awaken childlike nostalgia. These sections are easily the most amusing of the book. She also fully imagines a fascinating version of Fairyland. Additionally, Tepper pulls off a remarkable feat in her writing. The book is organized as Beauty's diary, commencing when she is fifteen and continuing well beyond middle age, and Tepper convincingly changes Beauty's voice over the years, so gradually I barely noticed it was happening, as Beauty matures and as the events of her life change her outlook.

What keeps this book from greatness is that its central thesis -- that the beauty of art and nature should be preserved and appreciated -- is undercut by the way Tepper describes beauty itself. Too often, Tepper's words of appreciation of beauty segue into extremely mean-spirited rants against what Tepper perceives to be ugly. She devotes many pages of her book to describing a well-realized and vicious hell for writers of horror fiction, which she clearly hates with an ugliness that rivals any of the uglinesses she denigrates. Tepper is hardest on horror fiction, but does not spare other twentieth century institutions.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mahrya Cannon on August 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I started reading this book when I was in high school, but put it down after reading a particularly disturbing scene (those who've read the book will probably know which one I'm talking about). I picked it back up a few weeks ago and loved it. I'm so sorry that I didn't read it all the way through the first time.

Overall I thought the book was very good, a few flaws, but the strengths outweigh those. Some portions of the book are stronger than others, so my advice is that if you come to a section you don't care for, keep going. I personally loved the idea that her child and grandhild would also become stars in their own little fairy tales. Beauty really holds the book together, and I enjoyed the first person perspective Tepper uses. The book has a beautiful message, as do a lot of Tepper's novels. Sometimes she can be a bit preachy and that can throw you right out of the book, but I really loved this book and would highly recommend it. She has found a way to make what could be a depressing outcome into a touching ending that will stick with you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Crystarra on November 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure what to rate this, right now I am giving it a four, but I just might change my mind by the time I am done writing this. I can say that this was my second tepper book. The first was A Plague of Angels, and the only reason that I read Beauty was my friend promised me I would like it. I have to say that overall, Tepper has the gift to disturb her readers, well at least almost all her books disturb me. Beauty isn't any different. I was told that this was a book about Sleeping beauty who had a daughter who turned out to be cinderella whose daughter was snow white, etc. I thought it sounded like a fun book. Boy was I wrong. From the author's note to the last sentence, this book plunges you down into a deep (abyss?). It's not a "fun" read, rather, it's a very deep story. It definitely hits heavy on the environmentalist aspect, but it's also speaks about loosing "magic" (hope?) and all that is not just physically beautiful in the world, but spiritually for lack of a better word. While I loved this book and have reread it, I have to say that the two parts that I didn't like was the Chinanga part--I didn't particularly see the point of it, and also Giles character. What a shallow shallow hero. However, it is still a beautiful story and as depressing as it is, ends on a note of hope.
Oh, I guess to be fair, I agree with the person who said that Tepper uses religion to get out of situations. I guess I'll let the four stars stand after all. I still highly reccommend this book though
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DJLA531 VINE VOICE on October 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
As I was browsing in a used bookstore one day, I was attracted to this book by the cover and the simple title. Over the past 10 years, I have gone back to this book again and again. I fall in love every time! The romance between Beauty and Giles is one of the most beautiful I have read anywhere. I am fascinated by time travel, fairy tales, and the struggle to discover identity, and Tepper skillfully weaves all these and more into a simply wonderful story. After reading this, I went out and looked for her other books, but the only one I would recommend beyond Beauty is "A Plague of Angels". My only caveat: some of Tepper's ideas are very liberal, but don't let that stop you from discovering this priceless book.
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