My most anticipated short fiction anthology of the year, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, is out this week. As you might remember, I am hosting a reading challenge in conjunction with LitCelebrAsian to celebrate all of the authors involved in the anthology. It is my absolute privilege to share an interview I did with Aliette de Bodard today. She contributed a retelling of Tấm and Cám, a Vietnamese fairy tale I grew up hearing.
1) What drew you to the story of Tấm and Cám, why did you want to retell this tale in particular?
For me, Tấm Cám is such a seminal Vietnamese tale, and it had a huge impact on me as a child–not so much the first part, which didn’t feel very distinct from Cinderella at the time, but the series of Tấm’s deaths and reincarnations and how she always struggles to come back to her husband no matter what shape she’s in. At the same time the familial dynamics always bothered me (as in many fairytales) because they pitted sister against sister (and not in a particularly charming way since the darker-skinned sister is the evil one). So when I retold it, I wanted to change this; and rather than have the story be about a wife striving to reach her husband, be about a sisters trying to reach each other and find a life together! Continue reading “Author Interview: Aliette de Bodard for #1KBE”
Title: The House of Shattered Wings
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Series? Yes. 1 of 3.
Rating: 4/5 stars
I bought this book because I was promised a Vietnamese immortal trapped amidst broken and fallen-angel ridden Paris. Did the book deliver? YESSSS.
NOT YOUR USUAL FALLEN ANGELS
A Fallen. A young one, barely manifested in the world, lying in pain, somewhere close; somewhere vulnerable in a city where young Fallen were merchandise, creatures to be taken apart and killed before they became too powerful and did the taking apart and the killing.
The book puts a twisted, dark spin on the standard fallen angel mythology. In this alternate world’s decaying Paris, the Seine is blackened with ashes, while the streets are ruled by a motley of gangs and Houses. Paris is deprived of magic, its only source being the Fallen and their corporeal body, down to their very bones, blood, skin, and hair. Newly formed Fallen, fresh out of the sky, are prey to unsavoury character who wouldn’t hesitate to mutilate them for a taste of magic. I loved this horrific spin on the usual angel lore, as it at once confronts the dark side of humanity and the depth to which the angels have fallen. The atmosphere of the book follows suit, it’s steeped in secrecy, in whispers of sins and secrecy. Continue reading “Book Review: The House of Shattered Wings”