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Winter's Tales

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,378 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
In Isak Dinesen's universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night's wandering, he learns love's true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he le ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Vintage Books (first published 1942)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 17, 2015 Rowena rated it it was amazing
I think short story collections are often a bit hit or miss, but I enjoyed every single story in this collection. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that one day we'll be old enough to read fairytales again, and I think that's definitely true for me now. These stories definitely had a fairytale-like quality to them and they were very enjoyable; not only were her descriptions of the Scandinavian region inviting, there was also a lot of wisdom to her words. The writing was also infused with bibli ...more
I went to Denmark, pretty much, to see Karen Blixen's home. It is a beautiful place; the land around the house, including Blixen's grave, has been made into a bird santucary. The house is near the water, and at least when I went there, the walk from the train station included passing what looked to be a Nor. Fjord breeding farm. There was even a resturant with Blixen inspired art work (pricey but very nice) and excellent food.

It seems strange that when reading Blixen's non-fiction what comes acr
Oct 02, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In a word - magic!
11 short stories which draw you in quickly - Dinesen has a gift for sparking interest in her characters from the outset and for pulling you into another world... and making you linger there long after the tale is over. *Sigh*
Most of the stories are set in the author's native land (Denmark) sometime in the past (frequently the 19th century, though one story takes us as far back as the 13th). Dinesen's nostalgia for her country and its people can be felt strongly, which is part
Jan 25, 2009 L.S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I picked up this book in the past summer when I was thinking about the "snow queen" (H. Ch. Andersen) and was just curious to read some more danish fairy tales. But these stories were not what I expected, i.e. for children. They are 11 stories, mostly romantic (except 3 of them). I liked very much the narrative style with colorful descriptions, fjord-ish construction and sometimes unexpected situations. I also enjoyed some of the fantastic elements. But most of all I liked "Peter and Rosa", a lo ...more
Oct 04, 2007 Nick rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ponderous puffed-ups
This is just not as good as her earlier collection "Seven Gothic Tales," which has some of the best short stories ever written. That book had a youthful excitement and vigor, full of surprising stories that delighted in the art of keeping the reader on his toes. "Winter's Tales" is much...frostier. Much of it seems cold and dead. It feels as if Dinesen has decided not to be childish any more and instead feels obliged to share great "mature" wisdom with everyone without bothering to tell a rippin ...more
Dec 22, 2008 Ero rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and life-changing book of stories. Really something special.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Like many Americans (I suspect), my introduction to Isak Dinesen was via the film version of Out of Africa. I actually never saw it until an adult, but my mother bought the film tie-in copy of Out of Africa and Shadows On the Grass which I read cover to cover two or three times in high school -- and my Dinesen obsession was born.

This collection of eleven short stories has the feel of a 19th-century fairy tale collection; while reading, I found myself musing if these stories were the ones Kare
She was an excellent story writer. Sorrow Acre was my favorite of the short stories. For example, this is the first paragraph -- "The low, undulating Danish landscape was silent and serene, mysteriously wide-awake in the hour before sunrise. There was not a cloud in the pale sky, not a shadow alone the dim, pearly fields, hills and woods. The Mist was lilting from the valleys and hollows, the air was cool, the grass and the foliage dripping wet with morning-dew. Unwatched by the eyes of man, and ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Evelyn rated it really liked it
Short story collections are always inconsistent: some stories you want to read again and again, and some leave you cold. This collection happened to lean toward the first.

Dinesen writes beautifully, absolutely beautifully. From "The Sailor-Boy's Tale": "It was April, the sky and sea were so clear that it was difficult to hold one's eyes up against them - salt, infinitely wide, and filled with bird-shrieks - as if someone were incessantly whetting invisible knives, on all sides, high up in Heaven
Mar 27, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Halfway through the "The Heroine"(about french ex-pats imprisoned during a 19th century conflict between France and Germany) I realized these stories were written in Nazi occupied Denmark. And then I realized the chill of history blew through these intricate tales especially the harrowing "Sorrow Acre", but these stories are surprising and unpredictable rather than bleak ruminations from Dineson's strange erudite mind. These resemble short stories or tales(10-20 pages)more so than the dense nove ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Katharine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This is my first taste of Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen and I was in love from the first page. I was encourage by Victoria Mixon's the Art and Craft of Fiction to study her and I am so glad I did. In fact, I'm planning on buying everything by this author and I rarely am that passionate.

Blixen reminds me a lot of Flannery O'connor in the religious imagery, the intensity of the characterization and the perplexing endings. She makes me as charmed with 19th century Europe as OConnor does with Depressio
Mar 18, 2015 Anibalector rated it it was amazing
„Sunt vremuri grele pentru visători”, spunea Amélie Pulan în Amélie, acum 14 ani, și pot să continui spunând că sunt cu atât mai grele pentru scriitorii visători, fiindcă în lumea grăbită de azi visul nu prea își mai are locul nici măcar în locul unde acesta ar trebuie să fi la el acasă: între paginile unei cărți bune. Dar visătorii adevărați nu se împiedică de ce e sau nu la modă, de ce se cere sau nu se cere și își văd de treaba lor. Așa face și Karen Blixen, autoare pe care am citit-o acum fo ...more
George Witte
Aug 24, 2014 George Witte rated it it was amazing
I spent a week in thrall to these tales, each one a world that opens immediately--as if evoked, fully-fledged and fleshed, by "once upon a time"--and closes completely, like a stone tossed into a vast, calm, black lake. Blixen/Dinesen considers life, death, sex, fate, faith, magic, history, and time with a knowing, cool, amoral eye and a natural storyteller's gift for just enough detail, but not too much. She understands how to let the reader's imagination fill in between the lines. No-one write ...more
Ene Sepp
Dec 31, 2015 Ene Sepp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ei mäletagi, millal viimati mõne raamatu lugemine viimati sellisel moel venis. Enamikes juttudes kõik lihtsalt läks ja läks, selliselt ühetasaselt ilma mingite kõikumisteta. Lihtsalt kulges edasi. Seal oli ka tõesti ilusaid lauseid ja mõtteid ("Ma mõtlen, et minu jaoks oled sa mu elus tuletorn, muutumatu valgus, mis õpetab mulle, millist kurssi ma pean hoidma.") aga siis ühel hetkel oli neid liiga palju ning kõigest jäi jube lakutud mulje. Mis veel lõpuks häirima jäi, oli see, et kui suunati tah ...more
Heather Wall
Jan 22, 2016 Heather Wall rated it liked it
This book of short stories is enchanting. Most are set in or near Denmark in the last century. The text I got was very old 13 actually published in 1942 and appears to be a first edition. Dinesen wrote 1COut of Africa 1D, which I remember being enchanted by. These stories are enchanting too, though a few are more cryptic than others. I enjoyed 1CThe Sailor-boy 19s Tale 1D about a boy who releases a falcon from a mast and is then saved several years later by an old woman who had taken the form of ...more
Mark Fabiano
Feb 21, 2015 Mark Fabiano rated it it was amazing
Blown away by her style, grace with language, in terms of descriptions and power to evoke everything and anything she wants for the reader to witness. A blending of tale as a form and short story, old and modern. Reminiscent of Kate Mansfield's style.
Nov 17, 2007 Ruth rated it it was ok
Dinesen's Out of Africa is one of my all time favorites. But with the exception of Babette's Feast, I find her fiction hard going. It seems to operate at a remove for me. Maybe it's the fable-like quality, but I'm seeing through a glass darkly.
Mar 27, 2016 Bryant rated it really liked it
"In all the short lifetime of Danish summer there is no richer or more luscious moment than that week wherein the lime trees flower. The heavenly scent goes to the head and to the heart; it seems to unite the fields of Denmark with those of Elysium; it contains both hay, honey, and holy incense, and is half fairy-land and half apothecary's locker. The avenue was changed into a mystic edifice, a dryad's cathedral, outward from summit to base lavishly adorned, set with multitudinous ornaments, and ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Hilda rated it it was amazing
Love her. The Man with the Pink Carnation is my favorite, the Blue Jar is a great story. <3
Christian Engler
Isak Diensen's book of ornate, Baroque prose is on an unreachable echelon separate from any writer writing literature today or even from her era. Her stories transport readers to a period where thinking and intelligence were elegant and refined, smooth and intermixed with tints of religiosity. Stories such as "The Invincible Slave-Owner" and "The Sailor-Boy's Tale" show Diensen's strong knowledge of Danish folklore and Baroque description. Mind you, this is not easy reading! The messages are sim ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Jenna rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
When I bought this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard of its author before: Isak Dinesen is the pen name of Danish baroness Karen Blixen, who was portrayed by a heavy-accented Meryl Streep in the 1985 Oscar-winning epic Out of Africa. Dinesen, who died in 1962, was perhaps the last great female author to use a male pseudonym.

According to John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, every work of short fiction belongs to one of three basic types: the short story (exemplified by Anton Chekhov),
Tom Schulte
Karen von Blixen-Finecke, here using the pen name Isak Dinesen, has the pen names and is best known for Out of Africa. Here she produced a collection of short stories with a faint hint of ghost stories about them. Mildly fantastic and otherworldly, they make for cozy winter time reading. Inevitably, the tales are of life-changing moments observer or experienced. These crucial moments can overtly magical ("The Sailor-Boy's Tale") or merely inexplicable like the strange meetings in "The Young Man ...more
Winter's Tales is a collection of short stories written by one of Denmark's most famous authors up to this day... and almost-laureate of the Nobel Prize in literature as it happens. The tales take the reader into a past world that has more to offer than just facts. There's no magic in the strict sense in them, but some stories have a slightly paranormal or mystical touch which makes them sort of magical despite all. Other stories are clearly critical of power and need to be read with World War ...more
Wendy Feltham
Oct 21, 2012 Wendy Feltham rated it really liked it
I read this book on a short trip to Denmark because I hoped to visit Karen Blixen's home/museum outside Copenhagen. Reading the short stories in Winter's Tales, many set in Denmark and often a century before she wrote them, I became immersed in the characters and surprising twists in her tales, making my visit to her home so special! I walked through the forest around her house, appreciating that she had left instructions for it to be a bird sanctuary, and stood under a huge beech tree where she ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Matt rated it did not like it
I'm not sure I could have possibly been more bored by this collection. When I wasn't bored, I was confused. Sometimes I was both.

I'm not sure what else I can say; it's been a long time since I've been so disinterested in a book.
Feb 20, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reading Karen Blixen is always, it seems, like reading Karen Blixen. It's inexplicably unique, even though it seems quite trivial... Hard to put a finger on why that is. It's probably the deliberately altmodisch language...
Jessica Fitting
Jul 18, 2015 Jessica Fitting rated it really liked it
It felt like an accomplishment finishing this short story collection, and I really did enjoy it despite how long it took to finish!! Each story was richly told, allegory heavy, and often had a story within a story so it wasn't light reading. I loved that some of these would ever so slightly bend towards fantasy supernatural in the tiniest ways, and almost all of them were based around Danish history and values. I can't actually pick a favorite now, and I think I'll have to sit a little longer wi ...more
Amber Ridenour
Dec 26, 2012 Amber Ridenour rated it really liked it
There are some fairy-tale elements to this book; mostly it's the tone. Each tale might as well begin with, "once upon a time." Dinesen admitted to being heavily influenced by the Romantics, and rejecting the so-called "realism" popular in Denmark at the time on the basis that she simply wanted to tell beautiful stories. But only the sailor boy's story has elements of magical realism. The transforming power of the stories comes from their acknowledgement of the intricacies of human nature. In mos ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Marika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was surprisingly satisfying. Considering it was written in the 40s, set mostly in the 19th century, and written in English by a Danish author, I found the stories pulled me in and the language sped me along.

These stories can best be described as fairy tales without the magical aspect. Really, Cinderella is a very interesting story without the fairy godmother, pumpkins and mice. And it turns out that Cinderella had better find a prince because a merely well-off upper middle class nouveau ric
Dec 11, 2013 David rated it liked it
It's hard to rate a collection of short stories. "Sorrow-Acre" blew me away; a five-star story. Although there were other ones I enjoyed, and one with an ending that left me speechless, by the end I was happy to put it down. The religious and mystical symbolism becomes a little wearisome after a while, and I couldn't help but crave at least one resolved narrative.

The prose was lovely, although Blixen did tend to get carried away with extensive descriptions of nature that only remain hazy in my m
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Pseudonym used by the Danish author Karen Blixen.

Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Danish: [kʰɑːɑn ˈbleɡsn]; 17 April 1885 – 7 September 1962), née Karen Christenze Dinesen, was a Danish author, also known by the pen name Isak Dinesen, who wrote works in Danish, French and English. She also at times used the pen names Tania Blixen, Osceola, and Pierre Andrézel.
Blixen is best known for Out of Afri
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“through the loveliness and power of her dream world she was now, in her old frock and botched shoes, very likely the loveliest, mightiest and most dangerous person on earth” 14 likes
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