Welcome to the Friday Feature of our Fantasy writers group, A Drift of Quills! We are back again with some book love to share with you!
When I was a little girl, about ten years old, one of my book-loving big sisters (Hi, Diana!) gave me the book Scarlet Sails, by Alexander Green/Grin (Aleksandr Stepanovich Grinevskii in his native Russia). I knew nothing at all of his popularity in his country and would probably not have been impressed at such a tender age. Nothing about the book cover lured me to explore between the covers. But… it was a book. And, since I got it for my birthday, it must be a special book.
Naturally, I read it.
I fell in love with it.
“Sailing Ship Asole” was me in a dozen different ways, daydreaming, using her imagination, listening to stories told by her elders, never quite fitting in with the people around her. Written in 1923 during the turmoil of Russia’s early socialism, the tale is a simple but powerful love story, a story about dreams coming true. Asole is the daughter of an ostracized sailor, often ridiculed and often alone. An old storyteller tells her that one day a white ship with scarlet sails will come and take her away to live happily ever after. Far across the sea Arthur Gray, a noble and kind boy from from an aristocratic family, dreams of becoming the captain of a sailing ship. His parents don’t believe him and they certainly don’t support him.
The antagonist, if you can call it that, is the disbelief, the lack of hope, the dullness of people without dreams and imagination. We have all faced those obstacles and we know how difficult it can be to rise above them.
Told in the beautiful, descriptive language of the time (and country!), it is a delightful fairytale. I have read it several times, and always, always look forward to reading it again.
(Note: A ship with scarlet sails is a mascot for the Scarlet Sails celebrations in Saint Petersburg named after Alexander Grin’s novel. It is the most massive and famous public event during the White Nights Festival with an attendance of millions.)
(Note #2: The English translation of the book is sometimes known as “Crimson Sails.”)
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Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark
Kristie is taking some time to help her family out. She’s a good mom.
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Author of Oathtaker
I came from a very big family. That is not so unusual for someone in my age group, but when I say “big family,” I am laying claim to a rather exceptional one in that I have seven—yes, count them, seven—sisters. If that wasn’t enough, the age span from oldest to youngest is only ten and a half years. We grew up in the middle of pretty much “nowhere,” and had to find ways to entertain ourselves. We’d take out our instruments and have parades, play “Harriet the Spy” and spy on one another—complete with our spy notebooks, and we acted out plays. We also we drew “moving picture” stories of books we knew. Essentially, this was to take a long roll of paper and draw the scenes end-to-end, then roll them out to show-and-tell the story. One of our favorites was Mio, My Son, by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, first published in 1954. That book got passed back and forth between us all—repeatedly. Curious many years later about what it was that had so attracted our attention as children, I tracked down a copy and had another “look-see.”
… (Read more!)
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Okay, lay it on us: What’s YOUR favorite book?
Answer in the comments below, and be sure to share this page!