Audrey Niffenegger Recommended

When: Tue., May 14, 7:30 p.m. 2013

Turnoff though it may be to read something described as a postmodern fairy tale, that really is the handiest label for Audrey Niffenegger's latest, Raven Girl, an illustrated novella about a mixed-species brood. It's a lovely story. A postman in the electronic era lives on the outskirts of a city—perhaps London. From his house, Niffenegger (Her Fearful Symmetry, The Time Traveler's Wife) writes, the postman can see "the skyscrapers of the city of which his suburb was the outermost appendage." That's the third sentence of the book, establishing its audience: not children, necessarily. Or, at the very least, children with parents who can translate prose that's slightly elevated, yet still well within the fairy-tale vernacular. Anyway, the postman discovers a raven fallen from her nest. He takes her home and soon falls in love with her, though they can't speak to one another—she's a bird, after all, and he is a postman. They produce offspring, the mechanics of which process Niffenegger elides. But here she is: a Raven Girl. She looks human but feels avian. She doesn't talk. When she's old enough, the Raven Girl seeks out the interventions of modern medicine—a plastic surgeon, in fact, who suggests he might be able to give her her wings. Continue reading >>

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