Thursday, September 16, 2010

"The Nature of Desire"

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite animated film, and I'm terribly intrigued by the story itself, as well. Like any fairy tale in written, it skimps on the details, so the reader--especially an adult--is left to extrapolate and fill in some of the blanks him- or herself. Many writers have since taken those extrapolations and turned them into stories or novels. Chief among them is Robert Coover, author of Briar Rose.

Of course, I value Fahrenheit 451 above all other books, but Briar Rose is definitely in my top ten. Whereas "Sleeping Beauty" is really told from the princess' perspective, Coover chooses the evil fairy (Maleficent, in the film) as his protagonist, and she works her way through the sleeping girl's dreams, creating all sorts of fantastical scenarios and taking them away just as easily. And while she is definitely not the kind of person you want hanging around at your dinner party, Coover does manage to make her sympathetic in her struggle to understand humans and passion.

If you're a fan of "Sleeping Beauty" at all, in any of its incarnations, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Briar Rose today. Be advised that the language is dense and the structure is somewhat convoluted at times, but it is well worth the read.

Image via Books-A-Million.


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