My Classics Club Spin result for lucky #6 is Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki. Hooray! This is a bit of phew moment for me because I’m committed to reading Moby Dick (and finishing The Hound of the Baskervilles), so this should be a lighter read (hope.pray.please).
The collection of 22 Japanese fairy tales was translated by Ozaki and published in 1908. I had never heard of this collection before and there isn’t a lot of information about the fairy tales available online. However, there is consensus among book reviewers and bloggers that Yei Theodora Ozaki personal story is in itself very interesting. The daughter of a Japanese father and English mother, Ozaki was quickly caught between cultures at a young age when her parents’ 5-year marriage ended. She spent her adolescence in Japan with her father but became estranged after she refused an arranged married. She spent several years travelling with British friends and writing. Her friends loved Ozaki’s storytelling and encouraged her to publish her stories. With publication, Ozaki purposefully re-envisioned the fairy tales to showcase the aspects of Japanese culture that she most admired, as well as dispel common myths and misconceptions held by Westerners.
“These stories are not literal translations, and though the Japanese story and all quaint Japanese expressions have been faithfully preserved, they have been told more with the view to interest young readers of the West than the technical student of folk-lore.”
I imagine Japanese Fairy Tales are going to be mystical, romantic stories with a moral lesson of some kind in the same vein as the traditional fairy tales we all know. I imagine they are going to be as delicate and simple to the eye as Japanese food, music and art, but just as complex underneath. I found Aesop’s Fables depressing and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, crude and unsettling, so I hope that this collection will make fairy tales magical again (hope.pray.please).
What are you reading for the Classics Spin?