Tales from the Hinterland is a perfect companion to The Hazel Wood and The Night Country, two books about the adventures of Alice and her friend Atticus Finch as she explores the world of her grandmother, the author of Tales from the Hinterland. In The Hazel Wood we learn that all the copies of Tales from the Hinterland have disappeared and Atticus Finch is the one person Alice encounters who has read the stories. So much of those two books connect to the lost fairy tales, it is a delight to read the original stories.
Albert does an incredible job of witing fairy tales. Historically, fairy tales are grim and fraught with murder and jeopardy. They usually exploit the common fears of children, loss of a parent, parental indifference, and parental cruelty. They also often feature women whose romantic options are limited but who seek, somehow, to find agency in a world controlled by men. Albert’s fairy tales do the same. She also creates a new mythology with the Sun, Moon, Stars, and the Tides forming a pantheon that appears in more than one story. The stories are stark, violent, and frightening, just as a fairy tale should be.
I loved Tales from the Hinterland. I did not expect Albert to produce fairy tales as grim as Grimm and as fantastical as Hans Christian Andersen. These stories felt as though they were written long before Disney got their bowdlerizing hands on children’s fiction. Not only do the stories feel like authentic children’s folklore, they are beautifully written with gorgeous descriptions of the landscape. I loved this from the first page to the last.
I received an e-galley of Tales from the Hinterland from the publisher via NetGalley.