Check It Out: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
This is Jessi Wakefield from the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.
Today I would like to recommend a fantasy that has been highly lauded and awarded over the past year. Author Naomi Novik is making quite a splash in the literary world with her fairy tale retellings, and in Spinning Silver, she has managed to create a magical, somewhat spooky, and very atmospheric loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
I say this is a "loose" interpretation of the well-known tale because you will recognize certain elements from the original, the obvious element being the ability to turn things into gold and the importance of names. In actuality, the novel is more of a combination of eastern European fairy tales, that have been fleshed out and twisted into something very complex that is not limited by the standard tropes of fairy tales. This is not a love story, but a survival story.
The story follows three female characters. Wanda, a poor young woman who has had to be strong, because it’s the only life she has ever known. She has spent her short life taking care of her brothers and trying to please an abusive father. There is Irina who has been born into royalty but has never known love from her blood family. She has simply been used as a pawn in political gain. Yet, Irina is still determined to save her people, by any means necessary.
But the main thread of the story follows Miryem, the daughter of the town's moneylender. Miryem finds herself taking over her father's job when he repeatedly fails to collect their debts due to his kind heart. Turns out she has quite a talent for it and she’s surprised when she finds the ability to be able to turn the silver into gold. Unfortunately, this attracts the attention of one of the Staryk – a fearsome and powerful winter creature who desires gold above all else.
Contact the Sioux City Public Library to get your copy of Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, or try her other title Uprooted for an equally amazing read.
Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.