Review: ‘Firefox, Wolfskin’, by Sharon Blackie

Charged with drama and beauty, this memorable collection by a master storyteller weaves a magical world of possibility and power from female myths of physical renewal, creation and change. It is an extraordinary immersion into the bodies and voices, mindscapes and landscapes, of the shape-shifting women of our native folklore. We meet the Water Horse of the Isle of Lewis, the huldra, the Scandinavian supernatural forest-dweller, and Baba Yaga of Slavic folklore (but will she help you or kill you?) Here too is the Snow Queen; the wild bird-woman of the Sliabh Mis Mountains; Blodeuedd, the Welsh ‘flower-faced’ woman.

Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. These stories are about coming to terms with our animal natures, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within.

My Review

Thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour, and to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Oh wow, this book was amazing. The retelling’s are mainly from Scotland and Ireland, where the author has lived, but the Slavic and Scandinavian stories as wonderful too. I laughed reading Meeting Baba Yaga and cried reading No Country for Old Women. Each story was so poetically written and stirred such emotions in me that I’m overwhelmed. I want to dance, sing and fly, except I’m too uncoordinated to dance, a terrible singer and clearly it’s not possible for humans to grow wings and fly in anything other than fairy stories and folklore.

It’s most discombobulating, coming back to the real world. The stories in this book are very powerful, drawing on tradition and modernity in turn to make some very important points about the world as it stands and what has been lost. I just… I don’t have the words, sorry.

Author Bio

Dr Sharon Blackie is a writer, mythologist and psychologist, and an internationally recognised teacher of the mythic imagination. Her bestselling book, If Women Rose Rooted, won a 2016 Nautilus award, and laid out a haunting heroine’s journey for every woman who finds power, inspiration and solace in the natural world. She has an international following through her online communities, and the courses and workshops she offers through ‘The Hedge School’. Her first novel, The Long Delirious Blue, was described by the Independent on Sunday as ‘hugely potent’. She lives in Connemara, Ireland.

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