Jun. 20th, 2014

divisionsandprecisions: (dry)
Fairy tale set in the mining country in the west. Seems cartoonish to me on every level--character, plot, setting. Which should be appropriate for a mashup of fairy tale and western tall tale, but the humor and wonder that go with these styles has been drained out. All that's left is heavy-handed message of how women are oppressed, and there is no escape; the wicked witch will follow you until you die.

I am perhaps too sensitive to the difference between being told and being shown. If the author works up to their message using small steps, each of which feels real (not necessarily in a literal sense) then I am convinced. Sometimes, however, the story is more like an "appeal to authority," where the author invents something and says Look how the world is. It can be harder to see this happening if you already agree strongly with the author.

I noticed one detail that I would expect 99 out of a hundred readers to miss. Springtime in the 19th century Montana wilderness was represented by tulips and blackberries, which happen to be a Mediterranean plant and an Asian plant. And blackberries are mostly noticeable when they fruit at the end of the summer. Not particularly important, but an example of how the details in the narrative try to add a sense of realism, but come across as paper cutouts glued onto the surface.

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