- Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ace; Reprint edition (July 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 044100069X
- ISBN-13: 978-0441000692
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Deerskin Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1994
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From Library Journal
Heir to her late mother's legendary beauty, Princess Lissar becomes the victim of her grief-maddened father's desire. Fleeing her home, she seeks solace and solitude in a great forest--and discovers a magic that leads her toward healing and justice. Loosely based on "Donkeyskin," an obscure fairy tale by Charles Perrault, this story of a young woman's survival and recovery is both a classic hero's journey-tale and a parable for modern times. Award-winning YA author McKinley turns her storytelling acumen and stylistic grace toward an adult audience, handling incest and rape with unflinching honesty while at the same time building a case for hope and renewal. A good choice for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
A first foray into adult fantasy for the author of such well- received children's books as The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988), etc. In an unnamed, standard fantasy kingdom, an unnamed queen dies after bequeathing to her unnamed king a portrait capturing her surpassing beauty. Their daughter, the princess Lissla Lissar, is the very image of her mother, even to her black-red hair. On Lissar's 17th birthday, the king announces that he will marry his daughter! Horrified, Lissar locks herself away, but the king breaks in to beat and rape her. Barely alive, Lissar escapes with her dog Ash to find sanctuary in the mountains. The moon goddess, the ``Lady,'' heals Lissar--suppressing the dreadful memories, changing her hair to white, giving her a stainless white deerskin dress--and four years pass in what seems a day. Now Lissar enters a neighboring kingdom, where she meets the dog-fancying prince Ossin. As she slowly regains her memory, so she falls in love with Ossin, who proposes. Unable to tell him of her past, Lissar again flees into the mountains, returning the following year ready to denounce her father, regain her black-red hair, and marry Ossin. Turgid, lurid, soporific fluff. Might have made an adequate fairy tale at a twentieth of the bulk. McKinley will have to do much better than this to capture an adult audience. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is the story of Princess Lissar, who at first glance appears to live a charmed life. Actually, once we dig a little deeper we realize Lissar is very alone & isolated in her world. Her parents don't seem to remember she exists, she has no friends only servants. The turning point begins when her Mother dies and she receives a puppy as a gift of condolence from Prince Ossin whom she names Ash. Dear old Dad, crazy with grief over the loss of his Queen, turns into a nutcase & completely forgets he has daughter for several years. During this time Lissar & Ash grow up together & become bonded closer than any two beings can be. Then one day Dad remembers he has a daughter & decides it is time for her to marry & start producing an heir. Once he takes a good look at Lissar he notices how beautiful she has become & how much she resembles her mother. I don't want to give anything else away but this is the beginning of Lissar's transformation into the mystical creature Deerskin & the end of her life as she knows it.
Despite the dreary beginning, this story is ultimately a positive one & especially recommended for dog/animal lovers. The scenes with the puppy rearing, Lissar's eventual opening up to Prince Ossin & the magical, mystical qualities of the story make this a must read. Lissar is a heroine to admire & Prince Ossin is a ray of light in a world filled with selfish, spoiled & revolting men. Lissar's dog Ash is the glue that holds her together through good times and bad.
So, if you're up for an emotional read that is well worth the pain put a day aside to read this one & make sure you have a box of Kleenex handy. You're guaranteed to cry tears of pain & of joy. This one unquestionably gets 5 out of 5 stars.
I did read it all the way through, in fact, I stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning to finish it. By the end, I had my hands clenched and in the course of reading had yelled things like "NO!" "Oh MY GOD!", etc. several times.
It starts out seemingly perfect, as all the old boring fairytales seem to be, with tales of the handsome King and the Queen who is "the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms". This tale is told to their only child, a daughter Lissla Lissar. She at a young age is enthralled by the tale of how her father completed an impossible quest to win her mother. But, we soon see the reality of the tale in that the King and Queen are so absorbed in each other that Lissar is completely ignored.
Then, a tragedy more profound than first appearance enters in. The Queen dies (not that she couldn't have prevented it) and Lissar is given her first friend in the form of Ash, a Fleethound puppy who is a gift from a prince in a neighboring country. Lissar isn't much affected by her vain, self-absorbed mother's death but a certain facial expression her father bestows on her keeps Lissar dreading him for the next two years for reasons she cannot discern. What she does not realize is that she is beginning to look more and more like her exquisite mother. In her maddened father's eyes, she is the only woman in the country who compare to his belovedly beautiful dead wife. On the morning after her hideous 17th birthday, Lissar's fears are confirmed for the worst.
Yes, this book does involve rape, incest and abuse. This is the most horribly disturbing part of the book but it is not graphic. McKinley handles it as tastefully as such a situation can be handled. Incest is an unnatural horror but McKinley does her best to keep it from driving her readers completely insane. However, the discription of Lissar's reaction and what happens to Ash is enough to make me cry even as I write this review. This is a topic that should be addressed though and I believe that it may be beneficial to anyone who has suffered such a crime to read this book. Because, as with all books where an major catastrophy occurs, joy and healing and the ability to cope for the most part do factor in.
Don't read any more unless you want to know what happens to Lissar and Ash after the end of part one.
Wounded in Heart, Spirit and Mind, Lissar and Ash flee and spend the winter in solitude. Lissar then goes through another tragedy brought on by the rape and remembers what happened to her. Then, a mysterious being gives her "the gift of time" and when Lissar comes to, her old wounds are lessened and she is ready to leave her mountain home. With the gift of time comes the ability to lock away all knowledge too painful for her to deal with at the time and she moves on, not really knowing much about herself, but being directed nonetheless. She and Ash have also been given the gift of disguises. Lissar's long black hair has become an irredescent white and her formerly green eyes are now black, black with secrets not even she is aware of at this point. Plus, Ash's coat is now long, she is no longer distinguishable as a fleethound.
Lissar comes upon the "yellow city" where the local prince (yes, he may very well be the same who gave her Ash) has a litter of orphaned puppies in need of special care. In the course of time, Lissar cares for the puppies as her old spiritual wounds try to come to grips. The prince we find also is a human and a very good friend to her.
Then, on the night of a ball, Lissar's old fears and anxieties come back and she is forced into seclusion again. This may seem tedious for some readers but I find it fitting. Such a horror as has occured to Lissar takes much time to heal, and McKinley portrays it very thoughtfully here. Some may find this rambling. But, I found that I was drawn into Lissar's emotions, confusion and fear just as if I were a part of her mind. McKinley's style is very effective in this and I find it completely appropriate. The wording needs to be confusing in order to be accurate to Lissar. Otherwise, the story would not be so real. Not all of McKinley's books are like this, so this type of writing is proof that she did it on purpose.
Anyway, this was a fantastic story! DO NOT GIVE UP!!! READ IT ALL YOU WILL NOT BE LET DOWN OR DISAPPOINTED!!! And don't worry, Lissar's father does not get away with his crime. You will be very surprised at just how he gets his karma and how Lissar saves more than herself! Not all endings are perfect, Lissar has not gotten over it. And, I love the book all the more for it, for in reality, such things cannot be "gotten over" it will always be a coping process, but, in the end, she can joyfully say that she will TRY. And that is the best and most real anyone could hope for!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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