Deathless – Catherynne M. Valente

Deathless is a fantastical retelling of some Russian folk tales against the backdrop of early Soviet Russia.

I think I would really have benefited from knowing a few Russian folk tales before reading this, it took me a while to work out which parts were the “original” folk tale (as much as any folk tale can be original) and which parts were Valente’s original thinking.

Deathless

Irrespective of this though, it is a compelling read with some common folk tale themes (like the rule of three) and a mythical setting. The links back to “real world” social change and how this effects the the folk tale world as it reacts to collective changes in the imagination and life experience of the Russian people.

Have you enjoyed a retelling of a traditional tale?

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