Listening to The Sleeper and the Spindle and The Color of Lightning


61sse7fwwcl-1-_sl300_ The Sleeper and the Spindle

Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle is a twist on famous fairy tales Snow White and Sleeping Beauty combining the two with a fervor against evil, and a clever ending proclaiming strength in choosing one’s own fate.  No handsome prince needed to save the day here.

I found the story on my library’s free overdrive audible offerings, listening for about an hour while I walked my cares away.  The cast of voices, narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt in beautiful British intonation, offers beautifully rendered dialogue accompanied by mysterious music reminiscent of a Tim Burton production.  The sleeping minions guarding the castle turn into whispering zombies, while magic twirls through spider webs and crooked walking canes.

A fun and easy way to while away an hour, with a few well meaning morals and a new  adjustment to “happily ever after.”

9780061690457_p0_v2_s192x300   The Color of Lightning

Looking for Paulette Giles’ National Book Award Finalist, News of the World, led me to her earlier book  – The Color of Lightning – available on the library’s audio offerings.  Never having read this author, I downloaded the book and am already hypnotized by her poetic descriptions of Texas landscape and her sweet atmospheric notes – {a dawn} “of fading stars like night watchmen walking the periphery of darkness and calling out that all is well.”  Soon, however, the somnolent tone is gone, replaced by the horror and misery of the Indian raid, with descriptions of murder and rape, and continuing with their tortured capture.

The main character is based on a historical figure, Britt Johnson, a freed slave who journeys into the Texas Panhandle to rescue his wife and children — abducted not by slave traders but by the Plains Indians.  In her review for the Washington Post, Carolyn See noted “He’s a remarkable man, caught between hostile Indians on one side and racist whites on the other. But the larger story is about the utter failure of the two cultures to understand each other.”

The book is fast-paced and gripping, keeping me alert as I listen for the next – escape? retribution? freedom?    Have you read the book?