[ARC] Slipping by Lauren Beukes

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Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, Moxyland and Zoo City, here collects stories and essays published elsewhere during years.

The collection is heterogeneous: some of the tales emerges with respect to others and leave a vivid memory. One of these is the one that gives the title to the book, and it is quite strong: in the future corporations sponsor athletes and their body enhancements; the girl protagonist of the story do not have any more her guts, other athletes have some limb replaced by something similar to a paw and so on.

In some tales we face women protagonists forced to adapt to exploitation or market rules, more or less willingly, and women able to fight for their independence (like Thozama in Smileys who fights against the soldier who wants to protects her and asks for her money).

Some setting are extreme (like the dramatic science-fiction The Green), to get to the absurd and to the meta-fiction (Unathi Battles the Black Hariballs, a story with mechas that I did not particularly like).

The essays are the last part of the book and deals about violence against women (All the Pretty Corpses, where the author explains what brought her to write The Shining Girls), about live in the African cities suburbs (Inner City, linked to the researches to write Zoo City), and the last one, On Beauty, is a beautiful letter to the author’s daughter about beauty to teach her that it is not only about – extreme – physical standards, but it’s something more: to be gentle, to be smart, to be intelligent.

Overall it’s a good collection, not all the story have the same quality, but the best of them will be remembered.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Slipping by Lauren Beukes ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in english

Beauty by Robin McKinley

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Altro retelling sul tema La Bella e la Bestia, qui, più che in Cruel Beauty o nell’orrendo Beastly, mi sono ritrovata nella versione Disney con un’ambientazione in un non ben noto periodo di nobili e carrozze, il castello perso nella foresta e piatti, tazzine e candelieri che muovono senza apparente intervento umano.

Beauty è la terza di tre sorelle – Hope (speranza) e Grace (grazia) – ma il suo vero nome è Honour (onore), il soprannome le deriva da un commento fatto da bambina: in realtà le due sorelle sono ben più belle di lei che invece è più colta e dedita alla lettura.

L’incontro con la Bestia segue il copione classico: il padre trova il castello ed il suo proprietario e gli promette una delle tre figlie in cambio dell’aiuto ricevuto; da qui in poi possiamo tranquillamente figurarci l’immaginario Disney senza poi sbagliare di molto.

Tutto ciò considerato Beauty è uno dei retelling più noiosi della ben nota storia, anche perchè non presenta particolari variazioni nella trama, nell’ambientazione o nell’evoluzione del rapporto tra i due protagonisti (in questo senso molto meglio preferirgli Cruel Beauty).

Nonostante quella raccontata sia una storia che funziona sempre qui non l’ho trovata molto avvincente, anche a causa della protagonista, estremamente piatta nelle sue emozioni e nel modo di narrarle: Beauty affronta tutto stoicamente da buona donna che si sacrifica per padre e sorelle; ha come controparte una Bestia estremamente cordiale che non eccede mai in attacchi d’ira, da cui l’istantanea amicizia.

Decisamente non è una versione di cui consiglierei la lettura.

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* Beauty by Robin McKinley ★★☆☆☆

*Ho letto questo libro in Inglese

Beauty by Robin McKinley

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This is another retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, here, more than in Cruel Beauty or in the awful Beastly, I recalled the Disney version of the story, having Beauty a setting in an undefined time where nobles and carriages were common, the magic castle in the forest and cups, plates and candelabra moving without human intervention.

Beauty is the third of three sisters – Hope and Grace – and her true name is Honour, while her nickname was given when she was a child even if growing up her two sisters became more beautiful than her who found her interest in reading.

The meeting with the Beast follows the classical script: her father finds the castle and its owner and promises him one of his three daughters for his help; from then on we can switch to the Disney imaginary without being particularly wrong – or sorry.

All considered I have to say that this is one of the most boring retelling of this story, also because it does not provide plot or settings variations, or something new in the relation between the two characters (in this sense Cruel Beauty is way better).

The story of the Beauty and the Beast usually works perfectly well, but here I did not find it particularly engaging, in part for the main character, so flat in her emotions and in the way she communicates them: Beauty face everything stoically as a good girl who sacrifice herself for her sisters and her father; her counter part is a kind Beast who is always kind, hence the instant friendship.

Honestly I do not suggest to read it for there are other more particular or engaging.

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* Beauty by Robin McKinley ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in English