Friday, April 5, 2013
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
East by Edith Pattou
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When a white bear offers to help her family if she will come away with him, Rose finds herself traveling farther than she ever expected to go - all the way to a cold place east of the sun and west of the moon.
This is a retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Rose's journey to the enchanted castle and then to the frozen north retains the fairy-tale simplicity and strangeness of the original while being grounded in the real world of 16th-century Norway. I love polar journeys, and Rose's travels in Gronland with the Inuit woman Malmo was my favorite part (and a scaled-down version of the journey in the science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin).
There are plenty of YA fairy tale retellings to choose from, and authors like Donna Jo Napoli and Marissa Meyer are easy to find and will satisfy anyone seeking readalikes for East.
I would also encourage anyone who enjoys the folk tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" to check out one of C.S. Lewis's less-known works, Till We Have Faces, which is a beautiful, moving retelling of Psyche and Cupid.