In an earlier review, I wrote about Lauren Beukes latest novel The Shining girls’ (2013). I must admit that I was slightly disappointed by this work. While, this book had some interesting and important thematic elements, it didn’t excite me as much as her earlier work; Zoo city and Moxyland. However, if I was tempted to believe that LB could no longer excite me, then this work would be enough to convince me otherwise. This work gave me the same thrill that I got from LB’s earlier work. In addition, LB’s brilliant writing is perfectly complemented by the art work of Inaki Miranda.
This graphic novel, and indeed all of the works within the Fables series, is set in a world where fairytale characters have been exiled to the real world. This allows the various authors of this series, including LB, to play around with these stories. Beukes takes full advantage of this world to really play around with the fairy tale Rapunzel. In fact, if you are hoping for a simple retelling of that fairy tale you will not find it here, Beukes uses this story as a base from which to spin a very different and unique tale. This is set, both; in Fabletown and fairy tale land
At the start of this novel, we find Rapunzel living in exile with her female lover and her (lover) hairdresser. She is finding that her long, ever growing, hair stops her from fitting in to her new world. Therefore, she is constantly forced to cut it. One day, as she is quietly getting on with her surreal life, she is sent a message, via a flock of paper birds, that her child needs her. She returns to fairytale land, where she must come to terms with her past sins and losses; repairing the damage that she has done to this world. This work is a fascinating work that riffs off a very well loved fairy tale.