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Book Review: "Apple and Knife" by Intan Paramaditha

5/5 - fantastically dark feminist folklore...

By Annie KapurPublished 28 days ago Updated 28 days ago 3 min read
From: Amazon

I had never heard of this book before I managed to find it whilst scrolling through obscure lists about books in the online realm. Especially books about fairy tales and folklore. We all know how much I love my folklore and so, it was only natural that I would choose a book like Apple and Knife. I was actually probably most suprised by the fact that this book was so easy to read considering the depth of the stories. Each one having some sort of violence within, kind of like reading The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. I read Apple and Knife fairly quickly because of its short narratives - but that does not mean that I was not really looking at what the author was doing here. This not only contained violence, but it also contained these almost static voices in which this kind of violence was not shocking but a bi-product of the story being told. I thought it was very clever and it drew me in immediately.

One of the stories I really enjoyed in this anthology is actually the opening one called The Blind Woman Without A Toe and is a twsited and weird version of Cinderella in a way that I have never read before. I have read a lot of versions of Cinderella but not this one. In this story, we pay attention more to the sisters and who they are rather than Cinderella herself. It lies very close to the German tradition in its use of violence as punishment but then again, it lies quite far away in the fact that it changes your entire view of the story. No longer is Cinderella this woman from nowhere who transforms but instead, she is someone else entirely. The sisters on the other hand, have never been viewed in such a light in any other tale I have read - they are far more sympathetic characters here. The ending is something that is truly shocking and hearkens back to Greek Tragedy.

From: Amazon

Another story I thought was very clever was called Doors. This is about a man who is found dead in his Mercedes and the story is told in a flashback. It is almost as though his life did not matter though as the reasons for his death are simply implied rather than covered. Ths story is instead about his wife and how even though her and her husband are no longer in love, must play the dutiful role of wife still. They hire a gardener named Jamal and he falls in love with the wife. After a while, things start to go wrong and it ends with this weird and shocking discovery about what may or may not have happened. I think that the most important thing about this book is that we should not really make any assumptions until we have read the whole thing. It truly is quite an achievement of short storytelling.

Now I know it's quite a short one in comparison to the short stories themselves in the book, but I did enjoy the Scream in a Bottle story as well. This one confused me because it seems so episodic. It is about a woman named Gita who goes to the house of some older woman who has claimed to bottle up the screams of mothers. She opens one of the bottles and claims that they can do this because the mother in question has already died. When Gita hears the scream though something incredibly strange happens inside her. She all of a sudden is dreaming about something really quite violent and sad. The tipping point of the story comes when Gita leaves the house and the reader is made to realise something quite odd and, in most respects, quite frightening as well. I'm not going to say what that is because you have to read the story.

You can probably tell how much I enjoyed this book just by looking at how much I'm gushing over it. This is one of those books that if you're a fan of Margaret Atwood or Angela Carter, you will love. It is a fantastic collection of dark fairy tales and folklores which relate to very real parts of a woman's existence. Again, I thought it was simply fantastic.

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About the Creator

Annie Kapur

200K+ Reads on Vocal.

Secondary English Teacher & Lecturer

🎓Literature & Writing (B.A)

🎓Film & Writing (M.A)

🎓Secondary English Education (PgDipEd) (QTS)

📍Birmingham, UK

X: @AnnieWithBooks

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Comments (1)

  • Kendall Defoe 25 days ago

    I have so many books; I have so much to read. Thank you for this one, once again!

Annie KapurWritten by Annie Kapur

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