The Orphan’s Tales: In The Night Garden – Catherynne M. Valente (41/52 books challenge)

1Once in a while you stumble upon an extraordinary book, into which you just need to immerse yourself fully. A book that allows you to truly forget about the whole world around you, and enjoy the miracles happening on each page.

               This is one of those books.

           2A young girl lives in the sultan’s gardens. She’s rejected by everyone because of the weird tattoos on her eyelids. Because of them, she’s considered to be a demon and submitted to a lonely life in the gardens, where wild birds are her friends, and fruit is what she eats. One day, one of the many children of sultan, picks up here his courage and talks to her. And thus she begins to tell him her stories, written on the tattoos around her eyes.

         The girl actually tells two big stories, each consisting of little stories, stories into stories, and more stories that form one long tale. We can find all sort of miracles here, all sort of creatures and inspirations. We have infatuated beast, lonely witches, animals turning into humans, and vice versa. We have stars that are alive and can die, centaurs, virgins closed in towers, and many more.

I was completely mesmerized by this original, beautiful book. It is written in an exquisite, poetic language that captivates you from the first sentences and holds you captive till the very end. It’s a long and fascinating feast of imagination, with all its charms, metaphors, colors, and adventures. Somehow, it made me create this image in my head of people gathering around the fire and telling each other old, forgotten tales. An image of the world where story-telling is art and is entertainment cherished by everyone.

It’s not a typical book, so I won’t tell you about the characters, because there are ten thousands of them. I won’t tell you about the plot, either, because there is a thousand plots. I can tell you this much, though:

I am absolutely in love with this magical book.


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