Synopses & Reviews
"In this lovely, inventive book, Maitland (A Book of Silence) pursues the psychic juncture between forests and fairy tales. This may sound maudlin or overly fanciful, but the author's research is diligent, her analytical skills sharp, and her prose lean and compelling. Each chapter begins with a walk taken by Maitland in a northern European forest (Airyolland Wood, in Scotland, and the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, England, are among those she visits) and an essay, in which she deftly juggles ecological history, the 'Ã¢Â€Â˜anthropology of woodland,'' and exegesis of beloved fairy tales. Each alternating chapter is a retelling of a fairy tale ('Rumpelstiltskin,' 'Tom Thumb,' 'Hansel and Gretel,' and others) and these, thankfully, are neither precious nor obvious. The author's light touch belies impressive intellect; she is equally at home discussing the forestry laws under the Plantagenet kings and a 'sinister' physiological condition that affected oak trees shortly after 1900. The argument she makes for a connection between the woods and the fairy tale is a convincing one and so finely constructed that this odd marriage between fiction and essay proves successful and thought-provoking. Photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for From the Forest
"In this lovely, inventive book, Maitland pursues the psychic juncture between forests and fairy tales
the author's research is diligent, her analytical skills sharp, and her prose lean and compelling
The argument she makes for a connection between the woods and the fairy tale is a convincing one and so finely constructed that this odd marriage between fiction and essay proves successful and thought-provoking."Publishers Weekly
Fairy tales are one of our earliest cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke similar sensations: At times they are beautiful and magical, at others spooky and sometimes horrifying. Maitland argues that the terrain of these fairy tales are intimately connected to the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils.
With each chapter focusing on a different story and a different forest visit, Maitland offers a complex history of forests and how they shape the themes of fairy tales we know best. She offers a unique analysis of famous stories including Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretal, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, and Sleeping Beauty. Maitland uses fairy tales to explore how nature itself informs our imagination, and she guides the reader on a series of walks through northern Europes best forests to explore both the ecological history of forests and the roots of fairy tales. In addition to the twelve modern re-tellings of these traditional fairy tales, she includes beautiful landscape photographs taken by her son as he joined her on these long walks.
Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Maitland has infused new life into tales weve always thought weve known.
About the Author
Sara Maitland grew up in London and South West Scotland. Maitland is the author of several books including the Counterpoint Press title, Book of Silence and Daughter of Jerusalem, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award in 1978. She studied English at Oxford University. She currently lives in Newton Stewart, UK.