Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Deathless by Catherynne M Valente

A world without wifi is something none of us wish to contemplate but for a short while last autumn this was a reality for me. Luckily, books are a fantastic way to enjoy an afternoon. This gorgeous book actually belonged to my housemate and I read it while she was away; it was one of the best sneaky decisions I have ever made. This book is brilliant, it is based on Russian folktales and is so convincingly written I couldn't bring myself to put it down irrespective of the truly bizarre content.

The book's protagonist is Marya Morevna and she is quite a female, possibly my favourite female character. She is considered quite abnormal as she witnesses things others don't, the opening line states that her a bird turned into a man which her sister then married. Very bizarre but also wonderful. Although it is fantasy and folklore combined it does convey the struggle of surviving through hardship. Koschei the Deathless, the love interest (although that is far too tame a term for him), is again a character from Russian folklore. I don't want to give too much away and it is a really difficult book to explain. I don't think I can convey the pure brilliance of it, so here are two of my favourite quotes:

“I do not tolerate a world emptied of you. I have tried. For a year I have called every black tree Marya Morevna; I have looked for your face in the patterns of the ice. In the dark, I have pored over the loss of you like pale gold.” 

“I know you loved both he and I, the way a mother can love two sons. And no one should be judged for loving more than they ought, only for loving not enough.” 

It was intense, gripping and most enjoyable with hauntingly beautiful prose. I finished it very quickly and I immediately wanted to read it again. I would love to read more books like this in the future, so if you have read it please let me know, Additionally, if you can recommend similar books I would appreciate that. Have a lovely week. Take care.

Love ♥