nicole's Reviews > Nutcracker

Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
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's review
Dec 19, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: holiday, 2011

While this was a FAR superior translation to the edition I attempted to read last year (it was so badly written and made so little sense I had to quit), it seems like a whole lot of to do for very little story. The rat king is so easily defeated and the story of the Hard Nut makes so little sense and in the end... an eight year old gets married? Yay? I can see the basis for all the iconic elements we've all come to recognize and adore, of course, and I can even see its influence oh other such seeming dream swept away tales (Coraline comes to mind), but ETA Hoffman's tale in and of itself is a pretty weak read in 2011.

As far as the Sendak edition is concerned, I think that the large picture book format is ideal for the story. Even the thickness of the pages feels luxurious, like water color paper almost --- a nice touch and something that ought to make picking this book up once a year feel all the more special for if. Sendak's full page illustrations, while nice and large, are pretty gloomy alongside the sugar and honey descriptions of Nutcracker's fantasy domain. He explains his reason for this in his introduction, I guess, by talking about how watered down and sugar-soaked the French retelling and ballet has turned the story, and while that may be true, I'm not sure Sendak's muddy colored, rain cloud interpretation is any truer to the text. We all have our own version. Which is why I can't fairly rate something that spurned so many wonderful reimaginings at two stars. I still love the Nutcracker even if I didn't love THE Nutcracker, if you know what I mean.

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