A dark, distinctive and addictively compelling novel set in fin-de-siècle Vienna and Nazi Germany—with a dizzying final twist.
Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer—celebrated psychoanalyst—is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings—to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.
Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people,’ so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed. . . .
Eliza Granville has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich.
Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion over at Rose City Reader and Freda from Freda's Voice, respectively!
'It is many years before the Pied Piper comes back for the other children. Though his music has been silenced, still thousands are forces to follow him, young, olf, large, small, everyone... even the ogres wearing ten-league boots and cracking whips, even their nine-headed dogs. We are the rats in exodus now and the Earth shrinks from the touch of our feet. Spring leaves a bitter taste. All day, rain and people fall; all night, nixies wail from the lakes. The blood-coloured bear sniffs at our heels. I keep my eyes on the road, counting white pebbles, fearful of where this last gingerbread trail is leading us.' p.1I absolutely love this opening! Me and fairy tales are tight, we're best friends, we get along is what I'm saying. And this opening just picks up so many different fairy tale themes that I know it's going to be good. I just know it.
'"Decent basic housing, that's what our illustrious Franz Joseph should force the city to spend its money on, not this Secession rubbish. Buildings with owls on... I ask you. And that Majolika Haus covered with flowers and twirly bits. Very nice, I dare say, but who among us can afford an apartment there? Meanwhile, homeless people will freeze to death on the streets this winter."' p.56I like the fact that this book is paying attention to the political climate that it's set in and picking up on social issues. It's always good to also learn something from your fiction and in this way I might, although I'm pretty good with the WW2 Era.
So, that's me done for the day! What are you teasing?