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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > 2010-09 PALIMPSEST: other works by Catherynne M. Valente

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Have you read anything else by Catherynne M. Valente? Did you enjoy it?

(PS I contacted the author to see if she'd like to join us for the discussion, but haven't heard back from her (yet). This may be because she was in Australia for the Hugo's - although she's tweeted and Livejournaled copiously since then, so she's definitely connected. It may also be because she's not interested. Either way, probably no author participation on this one, unfortunately.)


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) Reading Palimpsest kicked off a giant reading spree of Valente for me.

I enjoyed Apocrypha, a book of poetry, so much. I think her writing feels like poetry anyway. I even had a nightmare that I blame on Gingerbread, one of my favorites, where my husband's tongue turned into a brownie but he almost bled to death. Yeah. I love reading her poems out loud, they just beg for it! (Gingerbread starts with "In the stories you tell / I am always the witch and the whore."

I enjoyed Orphan's Tales vol. 1 (In the Night Garden), and still want to read vol. 2. It was like an eternally peeling onion, and you go on this incredible multi-layered journey of Valente-formed mythology.

Personally I had a hard time getting through the Grass-Cutting Sword, but I feel like someone who was as immersed in the mythology as Valente is might really enjoy it (I liked the concept but not how it was fleshed out). Yume No Hon was scattered but I ended up liking some of the concepts.


message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 966 comments I've had "In the Night Garden" on the shelf for months. Yet I've not delved into it -- I keep thinking a reread of Richard Burton might be best before trying. "Palimpsest" was my first Valente, but will not be my last.


message 4: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments I have In the Night Garden as well, but I haven't started it yet.

I recently read Yume No Hon: The Book of Dreams and loved it. I'll start babbling if I try to describe what I liked about it here, (I find it difficult to articulate my feelings on this sort of book on the fly and need to think a while to sort them out so they are sensible to others.) so I'd best just provide a link to my review.


message 5: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
The only other work by Valente I've tried to read is a novella called Under in the Mere. I was really excited about it, but ended up giving up on it after 40 pages. The prose was just as gorgeous as Palimpsest's, but I felt it was needlessly confusing.

She has the first book in a trilogy about Prester john coming out soon, and I'm very eager to try that one. I also plan to read Orphan's Tales at some point.


message 6: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 187 comments I started Valente with the two volumes of The Orphan's Tales, and I personally liked them quite a bit better than Palimpsest. I loved, desperately, The Orphan's Tales (except for the very end, which I won't discuss because it looks like nobody else has read Vol. II yet!), while I just admired the heck out of Palimpsest. The Orphan's Tales just felt much more immediate, brightly colored where Palimpsest is sepia-toned, and unutterably richer. Heck, Vol. II had me crying every 30 pages or so -- I mean, I was in a maudlin mood anyway that night, but it was filled with so many of those little tragedies that make up everyday existence that it blew me away. I guess I maybe just preferred The Orphan's Tales thematically to Palimpsest, because it seemed to be more about embracing humanity (despite all the horrible things people do to each other in the two volumes, they are very much about reaching for whatever happiness you can find with people you love) rather than running away from it, which is what Palimpsest seemed to be more about.


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