Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Tale of the Miller's Daughter


I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading The Tale of the Miller’s Daughter, a short novel by JoSelle Vanderhooft. It’s an excellent piece of fiction that retells the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin; but gives it a new spin sure to please. The work (65 pages total) is written as an epic poem and builds momentum like an avalanche.

I love the use of language, which is so clever and beautiful. JoSelle Vanderhooft’s roots as an acclaimed poetess are obvious and she creates very evocative turns of phrase that you won’t forget anytime soon. I was most impressed with the tension of the piece, that kept building and building and got me inside the mind of the main character so expertly that I really understood her. I can also see why Vanderhooft has been nominated for awards.

I first read JoSelle’s work in a collection of her poems titled: The Minotaur’s Last Letter to His Mother. The first line of that is: I eat their sons to hurt you.

Great, eh? I love that poem. The language is so powerful and hooked me right from the start. Her work has a strength on the surface and the themes buried within add a whole new level of complexity. The main theme of the Miller’s Daughter not having a real identity, or a name for that matter, is a driving force of the work. Check out the first two opening lines:

I was never named and never asked a thing.
I am only a girl, and for me that must ever be enough.

You feel for the main character, the miller’s daughter, right away and she is fascinating.
Vanderhooft had me from the start and I’m so happy to have discovered her work. It’s great when you find a writer that you really love.

I recently found out that the publisher is out of the book right now,, but you can get an autographed copy for $12 (which includes shipping) by emailing the author: JoSelle Vanderhooft

Have a great day and be glad that you have a name.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Golden Cord
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series
Five Star Books (April 2008)

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