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The Rose and The Beast: Fairy Tales Retold Paperback – August 7, 2001

3.6 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Francesca Lia Block, whose Weetzie Bat novels have often been called pop fairy tales, here turns to the real thing for some very different imaginings of Snow White, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Rose Red and Rose White, and other tales. Block's stories are more resonance than retelling, fevered dreams behind which the outlines of the traditional tales move fitfully like figures glimpsed now and then through a summer fog. Veiled references to Block's own Los Angeles appear in the twisty house of the seven dwarfs built into a canyon like Laurel or Topanga, the redwood forest on a seaside cliff through which Beauty travels to her Beast, the tree-darkened canyon houses with French doors that open onto exuberant neglected gardens lush with irises and roses. In these evocations Bluebeard becomes an aging blue-haired producer, Sleeping Beauty pricks her arm with a heroin needle, Red Riding Hood's wolf is a lecherous stepfather, and the Snow Queen is a sex goddess who lives in a marble mansion with her boy toy, possibly in Beverly Hills. Sensuous images enrich these languid and darkly ironic visions: jasmine-scented night gardens, leopard couches with velvet pillows, luscious food flavored with mint, coconut milk, or pomegranate sauce, cool candlelit baths. As always, Block's poetic allegories of adolescence are strikingly original and a bit dangerous, a feast for connoisseurs of YA fiction and savvy older teens. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a starred review, PW wrote, "Block sets out to revisit nine fairy tales, filling her stories with gritty, even headline-grabbing issues. The darkness of these conflicts and subjects proves the strength of the magic she describes: the transfiguring power of love." Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (August 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064407454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064407458
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
Here is a book reminiscent of Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber" and Tanith Lee's "Red As Blood." These retellings of popular fairy tales are placed in modern settings with heroines well-established in the harsh lessons in life. While their experiences can be brutal, the heroines triumph and give hope to their readers. Be warned that these are not the gentler stories of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine. However, Block and fairy tale fans (whether you are one or the other or both!) will enjoy this short story collection.
Nine tales are offered including Little Red Riding Hood ("Wolf"), Beauty and the Beast ("Beast"), Thumbelina ("Tiny"), Bluebeard ("Bones"), Sleeping Beauty ("Charm"), Snow White ("Snow"), Snow Queen ("Ice"), and Cinderella ("Glass").
Readers might also be interested in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's "Wolf at the Door," Emma Donoghue's "Kissing the Witch," and Donna Jo Napoli's "Zel."
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Format: Hardcover
'The Rose and the Beast' was my first look into the writing of Francesca Lia Block, and I was immediatly captivated by both her style and tone and her insurpassable use of imagery, and her ability to make old fairytales into new, darker and profound creations. It is gradually becoming clear in the general world of literature that fairytales in their original form were not at all intended for children, and the advent of sweet little fairytales, beginning with the Brothers Grimm and accumulating in the works of Enid Blyton, are gradually heading back to what they were originally used for - deep insights into the minds and souls of human beings as a whole. With that in mind, Francesca Lia Block perfectly captures their essence and meaning.
The cover art also captures this regard for fairytales - the front shows a beautiful young woman - but to turn the book around and see her lower half, one can see her hands are talons. Needless to say, this book is *not* for children.
There are nine tales in this volume, four of which are set in an entirely fairytale world, separate from our own, (Snow, Glass, Rose, Beast) and five of which are 'misplaced' fairytales, being played out in our contemporary world (Tiny, Charm, Wolf, Bones, Ice).
Snow is a retelling of Snow White, which highlights a new angle on the tale - bringing forth not the love of Snow White's mother or her lover, but that which the old stories always forget to mention - that of the affection between Snow and the seven dwarfs. My favourite quotes, first when the dwarfs look upon her as a baby "they knew then that she was the love they had been seeking in every face forever before this", and when it is pointed out "She loved them. This is what no one tells. She loved them."
Tiny is a reworking of Thumbelina.
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By A Customer on December 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved this collection of retold fairytales with heroines who deal with today issues like abusive fathers(in the story Wolf)as well as bringing to life the sorrows and triumphs in each woman's story. I loved this book...some of the stories were so moving that I cried. I would not recommend this novel for children under thirteen because the book deals with heroin, swearing and even a little rape. The book was one of the best that I've ever read, and if you are debating the issue of buying it, don't hesitate.
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Format: Paperback
I found Francesca Lia Block quite by accident. I was looking online to see what Suza Scalora (one of my favorite artist/photographers) had illustrated - to see if she had published any other books (in addition to her Fairies and other book) - and I noticed she had illustrated the front cover of The Rose and the Beast (it's a gorgeous photo illustration, by the way).
This collection of "fairy tales retold" by Block was intriguing. I have long been retelling fairy tales in a weird and twisted way, so I was naturally curious as to how Block treated it, and wondered if she was a "sister spirit" in writing. Reading about Block, I noticed she was placed by publishers in a strange liminal zone where she wasn't quite treated as a writer for an adult audience (fairy tales are always treated as childish in the Western world), but she was too dark and real for children. She now has a very avid fandom of young adult females.
The Rose and the Beast had some dark adult undercurrents in its pages, but nothing too horrifying for women coming-of-age. Inside her pages are stories of Sleeping Beauty pricking herself with heroin needles, Bluebeard the serial killer and Little Red Riding Hood's Wolf as a child molester and wife-beater. Many of the other stories were less intense - but frankly, I liked the stories that touched upon the more violent and sadistic side of society better. There was something more satisfying about them.
I found "Wolf" to be very suspenseful and intriguing - it had a genius quality - a story that flowed so easily it seemed the author wrote it quickly and in a deep trance. The voice of the narrator was very raw - it seemed honest and real.
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