What’s It About?
When Ilana sees a new world within an egg she sets off on a journey through reality and fairytale to find it. She experiences worlds beyond imagination as she travels. Her journey is not completed (as no journey truly is), but passed down four generations of women who cannot deny their heritage, even though they do not understand what it is.
First of all, this book was nothing like what I was expecting from the soundbites from various newspapers on the back of the book. Instead, I was drawn in to a world that I could never have imagined and one that I am anxious to return to (i.e. I am going to read this again!).
The story follows four generations of women, and is told in their words. However, the majority of the book is from the point of view of Ilana as she takes the initial steps away from her home and travels to New York. I am not sure where Ilana’s home is as it seems to be some dark fairytale place (presumably in the heart of Europe) and the lifestyle she lives there seems more akin to the dark ages than in the modern world.
Following her journey, I recognised many characters and situations from fairy tales though I am certain that I missed some at the beginning, before I realised what Budnitz was doing. As I am a huge lover of fairytales this immediately appealed to me – more so because each reference was viewed as an outsider (which Ilana is) rather than a well-known character.
I had difficulty finding the seams between fairytale and reality but this wasn’t really a problem for me as it just forced me to just follow the story, rather than trying to make sense of it. If you like stories which are deeply based in reality, this book is probably not for you. However, if you enjoy having your imagination and mind stretched, while discovering something about yourself mirrored in the characters then you should read this book today.
Overall rating: 4/5