Kentucky Author Debuts Feminist Spin On Sleeping Beauty In New Book

Oct 6, 2021 at 10:21 am
Alix E Harrow  |  Photo by Nick Stiner.
Alix E Harrow | Photo by Nick Stiner.

“I was so sure I’d landed in one of those soft, G-rated fairy tales, stripped of medieval horrors; I can feel it shifting beneath my feet…” 

A new revision of “Sleeping Beauty” commences with an excoriation of the versions that have come before. There’s plenty of fuel for that fire, as award-winning fantasist and Kentucky author Alix Harrow will point out in her discussion of “A Spindle Splintered” at Carmichael’s Bookstore on Thursday, Oct. 7.

The circumstances of the new, modern Beauty named Zinnia Gray are engaging, and she’s as brilliantly snarky as any mortally challenged college-age woman—but that’s hardly the limit of the depth here. 

Zinnia, in this feminist retelling of the old fairy tale, is dying of a mysterious terminal illness. “But when Zinnia pricks her finger, she founds herself cast into another world, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate,” according to the book’s description.

There are many dimensions to encounter, and the author fits them quite handily into a bracing novella (a particular strength of publisher Tordotcom, who is also publishing a well-anticipated novel by Harrow’s interviewer at the Carmichael’s event, Lee Mandelo.) 

“A Spindle Splintered” is the start of a series of books Harrow is writing retelling folk tales. Next up is Snow White. Harrow is a Hugo-award winning writer who you may know from her two previous books, “Ten Thousand Doors in January” and 2020’s “Once and Future Witches.”

It looks like her free event at Carmichael’s is full, but you can keep an eye on ticket availability — and put in an order to buy her new book —  here.

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