Spinning Silver.

Position:Book review


Spinning Silver

By Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik is the author of the Temeraire series and the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final? She was awarded the 2007 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Novel for Uprooted. Spinning Silver is a refashioning of Rumpelstiltskin.

THE STORY: In a medieval kingdom, Miryem, the daughter of an unproductive Jewish moneylender, takes it upon herself to lift her family out of poverty. She goes door to door, collecting money, refusing to take no for an answer. She then uses that money to buy things that she resells at a profit: turning silver into gold. Her talents attract the attention of the king of the unsavory Staryk, who, against her will, carries Miryem away to be his queen. Our second protagonist is Wanda, daughter of a man who, because of drunkenness, is unable to repay Miryem. He instead turns over his daughter to serve Miryem's family as housekeeper, a move that Wanda sees as an opportunity to build a better life for her brothers and herself. And Irina, a duke's daughter, enters into marriage with a dashing, but demonic, tsar. Del Ray. 480 pages. $28. ISBN: 9780399180989

Bookreporter ****

"Contrasting heat and cold, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, power and subservience, and then wonderfully turning it all around again. Spinning Silver is both an entertaining and thoughtful novel." SARAH RACHEL EGELMAN

Booksmugglers ****

"Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale. Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again." THEA JAMES AND ANA GRILO

ChicagoTribune ****

"As befits a story with a climactic battle between an ice king and a demon tsar.... Novik grounds her story in folklore and fairy tales, quicksilver allusions to Grimm and Andersen. But this fairy land is all too human, riven by misogyny and bigotry, poverty and oppression." MICHAEL ROBBINS

Locus ****

"The novel widens its scope beyond the original fairytale, eventually including the destiny of two kingdoms, a haunted tsar, a sorcerous...

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