The Orphan's Tales
In the Night Garden
By Catherynne Valente
(Spectra, Paperback, 9780553384031, 496pp.)
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
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A Book of Wonders for Grown-Up Readers
Every once in a great while a book comes along that reminds us of the magic spell that stories can
cast over us–to dazzle, entertain, and enlighten. Welcome to the Arabian Nights for our time–a lush and fantastical epic guaranteed to spirit you away from the very first page….
Secreted away in a garden, a lonely girl spins stories to warm a curious prince: peculiar feats and unspeakable fates that loop through each other and back again to meet in the tapestry of her voice. Inked on her eyelids, each twisting, tattooed tale is a piece in the puzzle of the girl’s own hidden history. And what tales she tells! Tales of shape-shifting witches and wild horsewomen, heron kings and beast princesses, snake gods, dog monks, and living stars–each story more strange and fantastic than the one that came before. From ill-tempered “mermaid” to fastidious Beast, nothing is ever quite what it seems in these ever-shifting tales–even, and especially, their teller. Adorned with illustrations by the legendary Michael Kaluta, Valente’s enchanting lyrical fantasy offers a breathtaking reinvention of the untold myths and dark fairy tales that shape our dreams. And just when you think you’ve come to the end, you realize the adventure has only begun….
Catherynne M. Valente was born in the Pacific Northwest, grew up in California, and now lives in Ohio with her two dogs.
"Cathrynne Valente weaves layer upon layer of marvels in her debut novel. In the Night Garden is a treat for all who love puzzle stories and the mystical language of talespinners."—Carol Berg, author of Daughter of Ancients
"Fabulous talespinning in the tradition of story cycles such as The Arabian Nights. Lyrical, wildly imaginative and slyly humorous, Valente's prose possesses an irrepressible spirit."—K. J. Bishop, author of The Etched City
“Astonishing work! Valente’s endless invention and mythic range are breathtaking. It’s as if she’s gone night-wandering, and plucked a hundred distant cultures out of the air to deliver their stories to us.” –Ellen Kushner, author of Thomas the Rhymer
“Refreshingly original in both style and form, In the Night Garden should delight lovers of myth and folklore.”–Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters trilogy
"While the obvious comparison is to One Thousand and One Nights.... These are fairy tales that bite and bleed. Every moment of lyricism is countered by one of clear-eyed honesty, and sometimes the moments combine.... Valente weaves an intricate, exquisite web that ultimately binds each story to the other."—Washington Post Book World