The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

I have decided to join Carrie GelsonAlyson Beecher and the rest of the #IMWAYR community to share out what I've been reading over the week. 

My reading life of late has been mired in dark and dystopian terrains. 
I've struggled with June and Day to figure out what's really going on behind Metias's death in Legend by Marie Lu. I've pondered what it means to be brave along with Tris in Divergent by Veronica Roth. I've ridden in flea infested rail cars along with Lina and her family in Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. 

I couldn't have faced so much darkness if I hadn't started listening to the audiobook of The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente. In contrast to the above harsh sagas, Valente's prose and world building is incandescently beautiful. I can't do her voice justice. Whereas the previous stories grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go, Valente's words seduce: caressing images into existence and draping them in sparkling jewels of philosophy and wisdom. 

I fell deeply in love with her work and her characters: September, Saturday and A-Through-L, in The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of her Own Making

Alas I have come to the sad conclusion that these are not fairytales for children. They are fantastical chronicles for grown up adults and very sophisticated young adults. While I've been able to convince some of my grade 6's and 7's to try the first one, they never manage to finish it. One of our classroom teachers who loves these books as much as I do couldn't even get them hooked on it as a read aloud. 

I suspect they are too witty, to reflective and preposterous for children. So we will older folk shall have to sacrifice and keep them for ourselves. 

Here are a few quotes to tease you...

“Just because it's imaginary doesn't mean it isn't real.”

“He missed you
like a fish in a bowl
misses the open sea.”

“All money is imaginary," answered the Calcatrix simply. "Money is magic everyone agrees to pretend is not magic.”

“What others call you, you become. It's a terrible magic that everyone can do — so do it. Call yourself what you wish to become.” 

“Music has more rules than math or magic and it's twice as dangerous as both or either.”

And this one, my favourite, I know from more than 35 years of wedded bliss, to be true. 

“Marriage is a wrestling match where you hold on tight while your mate changes into a hundred different things. The trick is that you're changing into a hundred other things, but you can't let go. You can only try to match up and never turn into a wolf while he's a rabbit, or a mouse while he's still busy being an owl, a brawny black bull while he's a little blue crab scuttling for shelter. It's harder than it sounds.”


  1. Sounds like a book I must read. So enjoyed the divergent series. That last quote was so true!

    1. I've only read the first one so far - I usually read the first one in a series and see if I can scrape up enough time to read more if I really really like them.

  2. Oh you certainly were in the land of dark and depressing. I have read all of those first three titles you described - just not all at once! I lent Between Shades of Gray to our night engineer and he told me he cried. A heavy, disturbing book. But well, well done. I love the quote about marriage you shared here :-)

    1. They really are dark - and I read The Archived just before these. It is time for a change so I'm now reading Steinbeck. Not sure about this but I am loving The Pastures of Heaven. Only married folk understand how true that quote is....

  3. We're actually reading the first book of Valente's The Fairyland series for my book club for young readers. I am interested how my 9-14 year old participants thought of the novel. I personally found it deliciously dark and disturbing, it had its moments, but September is not a character one can easily empathize with.

    1. I look forward to hearing what they think. Her writing is delicious, but the plot tends to wander slowly to fruition.