Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love retellings of stories. So when I saw this, reimaginings of folkore and mythology from East and South Asia, I said "yes, please."

I listened on audio; that was particularly satisfying, being told a series of stories. I loved the different ways the writers took the stories and made them their own, changing settings (the past; the future; science fiction; historical; the present.) Sometimes, even changing the outcome.

I was not familiar with all the source materials, but each story ended with the author talking about the tale they wrote. Especially since I was listening, I appreciated that this information was given at the end of the story, rather than at the end of the book.

Did I have particular favorites? But of course! "Olivia's Table" by Alyssa Wong and "The Crimson Cloak" by Cindy Pon.

Olivia's Table is a ghost story unlike any other ghost story I've read. Olivia's mother has died and Olivia is carrying on in her mother's steps by cooking a meal for ghosts. It's scary and cathartic. I don't know if scary is the right word: it's not horror story scary. It's, I'm not sure what will happen next scary.

"The Crimson Cloak" tells the story of love between a goddess and a mortal. It's funny and hopeful and clever; and in particular, takes a story of love trapped and makes it love chosen.





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