"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keturah and Lord Death

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt, is a must for my Fairy Tale related book collection.
This was a National Book Award finalist ( in my opinion it should should have won the Young People's Literature category)and gives us an exciting, mysterious story with a brave and tenacious heroine.
Following a seemingly enchanted hart into the forest, Keturah soon becomes lost and, after several days, is close to death. Yet when she meets Lord Death, she is able to strike a bargain with him that may save her village from plague, give her friends and family their heart's desires and provide her with a chance to find her own true love. To accomplish these tasks, Keturah must deal with the village witch, hostile townsfolk, many possible loves, and her own uncertainty, not to mention the handsome and imposing figure of death.
Levine subtly references several tales, and I greatly enjoyed picking them out. I noticed :

  • similarities to Scheherazade's suspenseful storytelling in One Thousand and One Nights
  • a character with the sight to know if someone will live or die as in Grimms "Godfather Death"
  • willful boasting spurring action such as in "Rumpelstiltskin," where the maiden's father brags that she can spin straw into gold
  • a potential but frightening lover and the good woman as in "Beauty and the Beast."

There may be more. What can you find?

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