Thursday night I finished Michael Gruber's The Witch's Boy.
It is a short book, but so full of fantastical elements inspired by tales of old and mystical powers even older. One recognizes at once bits of the fairytales we've all heard--Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White--but they are not told in the Disney fashion or even as passed down by the Grimms. They are told as a witch might tell them, in perfect dark fashion but somehow completely plausible.
The author, Michael Gruber, is a fantastic story-weaver. Some of his other works, The Book of Air and Shadows and The Forgery of Venus, are among my favorite reads. In his Detective Jimmie Paz series, Gruber takes on Santeria and makes it believable. I cannot express how highly I recommend any work by Gruber. As I told you all in this post from November, I wasn't even sure I would read The Witch's Boy when I read the blurb. And now it has become an inspiration to me--proof of what imagination can create.
Oh! One more thing. In the back of the book is an interview with Gruber and a statement by him on the origin of the story. I don't usually read these things. Why do I need extra words to describe what I have already read? If the author can't prove his points and convince me of his story inside the pages, then he certainly won't in extra, nonfiction words. But this one was different. I was fascinated by what Gruber had to say about his own mother (a witch?) and from whence the idea for The Witch's Boy came.
Read it. Even if you don't usually read fantasy. Read it.