Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Release Day: "Ice" (A Retelling of 'East Of the Sun, West Of the Moon') by Sarah Beth Durst

It's release day for "Ice" by Sarah Beth Durst (Happy release day Sarah!) and I can sincerely say I've been looking forward to this ever since I heard about it.

"Ice" is a retelling of the "East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon" fairy tale from Norway and if you're not familiar with it, many of the elements still will be, as some parts are very similar to Beauty and the Beast. (You can click on the tale title to be taken to SurLaLune for the text, annotations, illustrations and more.) Sarah's book, though, is set in the modern Arctic and promises to be a really unique and wonderful retelling that will stand out among the many other novels and novelettes out there. The two chapters available to read HERE only whet my appetite more.Here's a brief blurb from Amazon:
When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
As is fitting for a great romance, Sarah has called this book "a love letter to my husband. Beyond the ice and the bears and the everything, ICE is about true love, the kind of love where you face the world as a team... the kind where you'd go east of the sun and west of the moon for each other." (from today's post and her reflections about how the creating the book began and why this project is personal and special.)Sarah's fun and lively personality is evident in her books, her BLOG, when she's interviewed and in the fabulous commentary of what she calls "Obscure Fairy Tales". They're one of my favorite things I've ever read in a blog, anywhere. For these she posts the traditional text of a fairy tale she's come across in her wide ranging research and, almost line by line, writes her reaction and thoughts to the events happening in the story. (Genius! I wish I'd thought to do something like this but I doubt my commentary would be half so entertaining!) While waiting for the book release date to arrive Sarah kindly put up another obscure fairy tale on her blog to keep us entertained last week. Here's a short excerpt so you can see what I mean:
The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body (from Asbjornsen and Moe)
Catchy title. I would have gone with "The Heartless Giant." Reminds me of the original title for "War and Peace": "War and the Time That Was Less Full of Death and Destruction."
Once upon a time... six princes leave home to find brides, but they forget to bring home a bride for the seventh brother.
"My brothers went a-wooing and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
On their way home, the brothers and their brides encounter a giant who turns them all to stone.
Bummer. So much for that road trip.
And so it goes on. If you love fairy tales and you've never heard of Sarah before, it should be clear by now you need to be reading her books and blog!

Her two previous books - "Into the Wild" and "Out of the Wild", both based on fairy tales with Rapunzel's daughter as the protagonist - are shown below:Regarding the "East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon" fairy tale, the subject of a girl traveling the snowy wilds on the back of a polar bear is a favorite among fairy tale illustrators (Sarah says P.J. Lynch's artwork had a helping hand in inspiring her to write the novel) but instead of showing you more illustrations I thought I'd just stick with Cliff Nielsen's gorgeous cover for today (Don't you think the girl looks very much like her?) and instead found this lovely snow sculpture you're seeing throughout this post, photographed in Wyoming.
NOTE: Unfortunately I can't find any information on the snow sculptor, just that it was created for the International Snow Sculpting Championships in 2005. If anyone has more information, please let me know. I'd love to give credit to the talented sculptor.

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