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FAIRYTALES OF GOLD by Alan Garner

FAIRYTALES OF GOLD

By Alan Garner

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1981
ISBN: 0001952633
Publisher: Philomel

An oddity, this: four picture-stories, printed on heavy coated stock, that together make up a thick, 6(apple)" by 9(apple)", 200-page volume. But regardless of the format, none of the four stories would stand up to scrutiny. "The Golden Brothers" starts with a fisherman, his demanding, bossy wife, and a gift-bestowing fish (a direct steal from you-know-what); then switches to two golden lilies, golden foals, and golden boys bestowed by the fish (supposedly, to get the wife off his back); then takes up the adventures of the bolder of the two golden boys--who foils some robbers, marries "the most beautiful girl in the world," pursues a stag, runs afoul of a witch who turns him to stone, and is finally freed by his brother. . . who knew something was amiss when one of the golden lilies snapped. One stock fairy-tale motif succeeds another, to no emotional effect and little plot purpose. And, even more surprising considering the authorship, the writing is just awful: "Beyond the forest there was a village, and in it was the most beautiful girl in the world alive. As soon as he saw her, the boy loved her. 'Marry me,' said the boy. 'I will,' said the girl. So the girl and the boy were married, and lived happily." Both the next story, "The Girl of the Golden Gate," and the fourth, "The Princess and the Golden Mane," consist in large measure of long chase sequences in which the girls pursued throw down various objects to thwart their pursuers and make their escape. (The former also involves a mother who, for no given reason, "doesn't like" her daughter and sends her to be killed.) The remaining story, "The Three Golden Heads of the Well," follows the old good-sister-rewarded/bad-sister-penalized pattern--with somewhat unusual props. Except for that one really sinister mother, and an ogre or two, pretty much a non-experience--complete to the vacant full-color pictures.