Deathless (Leningrad Diptych #1)
Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what giants or wicked witches are to European culture: the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. Valente's take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.
Deathless, however, is no d
Popular Answered Questions
I name Catherynne Valente an honorary Russian. She has a Russian soul, somehow; otherwise how could she have written this book?!
This is a book about love. And life. Death. War. Loss. Hope. Despair. "Life is like that."
I grew up with these characters - in so many Russian folk tales, in so many Russian movies. The story is always the same. The evil Koschei the Deathless and Baba-Yaga, the kidnapped Marya Morevna (or Yelena, or Vasilisa), the brave Ivan who rescues her... These stories have been t ...more
Life is often full of beauty and joy. But life can also be cruel and painful at times. So it is only natural that the Czar of Life embodies both the wonderful and the terrible aspects of life. As a young girl, Marya Morevna captured the attention of the Czar of Life, the entity she's heard referred to in hushed whispers as Koschei the Deathless. And when Marya became a young woman, Koschei in turn captured her heart. After ...more
The Publisher Says: Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the tw ...more
“Death, keep off, I am your enemy, and you will not deny me.”
Deathless is one of those books that consumes you at every moment, where it is in every one of your thoughts, and once you read the last word on the last page you say to yourself . . . I think I just read the best book of my life. I can see the crash from here. The hangover to end all hangovers. That is how powerful this book is. Five stars will never be enough for this story.
Deathless is the retelling of the Russian/Slavic fo ...more
Undoubtedly this is one of the most brilliant things I’ve read this year. I’m coming to realize that that statement will probably apply to just about every Catherynne Valente I read. One of the major reasons that I didn’t review this upon finishing it was that I just had no idea how I was going to possibly say anything coherent about something so over the top amazing. HOW? How do I explain that this is one of the most seamless, meaningful unions of fantasy and reality that I’ve ever r ...more
the silence at four a.m.
a warm day at the ocean, salt crusting like dried tears on my face
a glass vodka kept in the freezer, poured over a compote of cucumber in the middle of summer
Refreshing, magical, thoughtful, agonizing; Valente has re-written a Russian fairy tale into a complex love story. It begins:
“In a city by the sea which was once called St. Petersburg, then Petrograd, then Leningrad, then, much later, St. Petersburg again, th ...more
Deathless is a book that denies easy classification into a genre. At first glance it's a fairytale fantasy. At a second its a historical fiction novel with fantasy elements. At another look it perhaps could be suggested to be a magical realism novel. All in all Deathless was a bizarre, quirky and fascinating novel to read.
Deathless, I have been told by a reliable source, is based on Russian mythology and fairytales - their folklore. I heard elsewhere before reading that Valente had embraced Rus ...more
“The rapt pupil will be forgiven for assuming the Tsar of Death to be wicked and the Tsar of Life to be virtuous. Let the truth be told: There is no virtue anywhere. Life is sly and unscrupulous, a blackguard, wolfish, severe.
Either way, I'm sort of glad that I hadn't reviewed this book directly after I'd read it, because the review would have been a very different one. I'd had some time to dwell on the writing, the story and Valente as a writer and have come to some conclusions that I didn't immediately see when I'd first read the book.
Seriously, for most of this book, I wanted it to stop. I reminded myself that you don't need a safeword for reading a novel, if you don't want it to go on, you just close the book, see, easy
Only it isn't easy when it's a magnificently written book and you've already lost your heart a little bit to the protagonist, then you're stuck, chained to the wall being whacked with birch switches…
I am reminded that fascism is aesthetic. The folk at the top who have control can only go on bel ...more
This is the story of Marya Morevna, who once upon a time in St. Petersburg stands face to face with the Tsar of Life and is swept away to a land of legend, of war, of magic, to become his bride, and later change the scales of battle for good.
It is a book where magic, folklore, legend and reality blend together effortlessly to tell a tale of love and sacrifice and all the things that could have been ...more
This book is a retelling of Russian folk tales and in my opinion, it has everything that you can wish from a retelling. Even though I'm not familiar with every folk tales that were referenced, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story from start till end. This was such an amazing tale about Marya and her fate as a wife to Death himself.
I especially loved the beautiful writing and I often fo ...more
To the great misfortune of some authors being familiar with a culture, its legends, myths and history does not necessarily mean that the exact author is capable of writing an appropriate interpretation or re-telling of these aspects.
Acquirement of knowledge and a thoughtful use of it are two entirely different things.
If it weren’t the Russian folk-tales, I would have liked s ...more
…is that…is that Alarkling!?
Unfortunately, it is not. Fortunately, it’s another boo ...more
Hounds and hearthstones, girl, haven’t you ever heard a story about Koschei? He’s only got the one. Act One, Scene One: pretty girl. Act One, Scene Two: pretty girl gone!
Such a simple premise, but in the hands of Catherynne Valente it turns into a huge tapestry depicting most of the Russian / Slav mythological creatures and fairytales with a few fantastic inventions of her own thrown in the mix. Valente has absorbed all these stories and distilled them into something new and post-moderni ...more
My problems with the book predominantly lie elsewhere, but there is one aspect about this book as an adaptation that I want to address before moving on. In curiosit ...more
This picture reminded me of Koschei and Marya.
This is how I'm feeling right now:
The book was full with many emotions. It took me to so many places. There was both happiness and sorrow. But it mostly made me want to curl into a ball and cry.
But I really enjoyed the story and the characters and I'm really glad I read it, that I could experience all that happened.
Marya Morevna was just a young girl in St. Petersburg when a bird outside her window fell from a tree, turned into a soldier of the Tsar, and married her oldest sister. That was her first glimpse of the magic of Russia, but by the time her third sister had been married off to a third bird-turned-soldier, "the face of the world had changed," and the magic with it: the soldier-bird was in the Red Army, and the eleven other families who lived communally in her great house had all brought th ...more
This book was an exception. Not only did the remaining pages keep me awake, the story itself wormed its way into my brain and rummaged there even after I had finished reading. ...more
I guess I have to write a review. I feel like I have to because of its beauty and at the same time I don't know how I can review it. How? Is it possible to sum up this book, this wonderful and haunting book with just a few words? The answer would be no. Go read it and then you will understand. Because see, there are books you hate, books you like and books you love. But this? This is a book you love.
Deathless is a ...more
That said, this book was a disappointment on a lot of levels. And yet it's the kind of book that makes me feel disappointed in myself for not liking it. It's certainly a book that all but demands re-reading. ...more
This is a book that ...more
The prose was interesting. Poetic, sometimes too much, which led to convoluted imagery; mostly it worke ...more
“Magic does that. It wastes you away. Once it grips you by the ear, the real world gets quieter and quieter, until you can hardly hear it at all.”
I found out about this book on my never-ending quest in search for other books with the same vibe as The Grisha Trilogy, one of my favorite series. Since a lot of people mentioned it and made parallels between them, I said I might as well give it a shot.
And holy damn, what a sorrowful story within a story. Sometimes disturbing, Deathless gav ...more
|Into the Forest: Deathless Spoilers||45||55||May 06, 2015 03:45AM|
|Into the Forest: Deathless Spoilers Free||39||30||Mar 20, 2015 09:57AM|
|Bookworm Bitches : January 2015: Deathless||4||95||Jan 26, 2015 05:04AM|
|Reading Buddy Style: September 2014: Deathless||1||7||Aug 31, 2014 07:50AM|
|Tʜᴇ Bᴏᴏᴋʟɪɴɢs: July 2014 Book of the Month - Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente||32||41||Jul 28, 2014 07:36PM|
|Novel Books & Rea...: Valente, Catherynne M.: Deathless (Deathless, #1) Informal "Buddy Read" Start Date: May 10, 2014||14||133||Jun 15, 2014 11:24AM|