Saturday, 31 October 2009

My Thoughts: Creole Folktales by Patrick Chamoiseau

I love folktales so when this was offerred as a bookring on bookcrossing I jumped at the chance to read it. The folk tales are from Chamoiseau's home island Martinique.

I started off loving this book and each tale, by the end I was enjoying the folktales less I'm not sure if this was the tales themselves which didn't grip me as much or if I had just overdosed in too short a space of time. I'm not going to talk about them all, I've just picked out a couple of those I loved.

'The Rainmaker' is the story of a village often suffering drought, one of the villagers brings a small boy to the village. The boy shows the villagers that with a needle he can draw the rainclouds closer and closer and make them shed their rain. He can even determine how much rain they drop. A village elder wishes for a shower not knowing that this is the only type of rain the village will now get.

'Madame Kelman' This short story reminded me very much of Hansel and Gretel and of several African folktales. A young unwanted daughter is sent into the forest each night with an impossible task to fill, the mother is hoping she will come to harm without the mother having a direct hand in her death. One day she sends the girl out with another errand and the girl searches and searched for the item which doesn't exist and ends up getting lost in the forest. She comes across a house with a witch inside, disgiused as an old lady. The witch promises her she can eat any of the lovely food on display if she brings the witch some water from the river. After drinking gallons of water and not fulfilling her promise the witch says she will feed the starving girl if the girl can find out the witches name. The girl ventures back out into the forest again and eventually discovers the witches name, when this is evealed to the witch the witch has to fulfill her promise. In a rage the witch rips off the horn of a bull, the leg of a donkey and the graceful neck of a crab leaving them all as we see them today.

This book is worth picking out, I think I'll get my own copy as it would be lovely to dip into this every now and again.

For the A-Z challenge

Do you have any particular countries folktales that you love?

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