Samikha's Reviews > Beauty

Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
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's review
Jul 02, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Recommended to Samikha by: Kira
Read from July 02 to 09, 2012 , read count: 1

I hesitate between three or four stars on this one, because while I love the themes of this book, and cannot but approve of its quoting Swinburne, the reading experience is not as good as the premise would suggest. It's a fairytale - a collection of fairytales woven into a single tapestry - with more realism than might be thought, and with a clear, strong but still good moral message: take care of Beauty, in all of its (her) forms.

The book's strengths lie in the way it blends fairytale dynamics with more realistic concerns, such as childbirth, or aging, and the issues it raises, of worth and of horror and of nature and humanity's place in it. Its weaknesses lie in how it tries to encompass all the things - at times it's hard to see where it's all going, and I got a bit bored with its meandering pace and with the way Beauty spent her life and Tepper the book's pages. Though the ending in part makes up for it, this concesssion to realism and reality's less than linear path to, well, anything, grows tedious at length. It might have been a better book if it had constrained itself somewhat.

I would recommend it, but warn the reader not to expect breathless excitement or complete coherence: rather, to reflect on the book's message and to see if you, like Beauty, sometimes feel awe at the world's wonders burning in your chest.
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02/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Erik (new)

Erik This strikes me as a retelling of Cupid and Psyche. If that's the case, nothing much tops "'Til We Have Faces," by C. S. Lewis . . . which will make you cry often. It's heartbreakingly beautiful and tragic -it is, of course, a Tragedy. Perhaps my favorite C. S. Lewis book.

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