"Seven famous fairy tales are here presented with modern-day young women in mind — re-retellings have scarcely been more inventive"
Spindle-sharp, with wolfish wit, and the sophisticated allure of fresh-spun gold, Annet Schaap’s Girls is an absolute delight. With a feast of familiar fairy tales re-written and repositioned for our age, this packs potent punch.
Flipping several stories on their head and inside out, among them Rumplestilskin, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and Bluebeard, there’s a wry matter-of-factness to the tone (kudos to Laura Watkinson who translated Girls from its original Dutch), with witty one-liners adding edge. “Ah, men promise all kinds of things…” remarks the mother character in Frog. Meanwhile, Blue unpacks the patriarchy with cutting verve: “She has everything. She is allowed to do anything. To clean his shoes, to brush his coat”, while the “he” of this statement remarks, “What is it with you women? Why can’t you just leave things well alone? Eve and the apple, Pandora and the box. You simply can’t resist, can you?”
Centring female aspiration, and the impulse to realise it, Girls is written in a lucid style that’s impactfully offset by strange goings-ons and juicily clever possibilities and outcomes. This captivating collection pulsates with agency, wit and the wonder of forging your own way through the forest, or through anywhere else, for that matter.