Tales of Innocence and Experience by Eva Figes

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'This is a story of childhood, of innocence and its fragility. Of the particular bond between the very old and the very young, living on the edge, sharing the moment. It is a special kind of love story. The wolf, anyhow, is always part of the plot.'

Tales of Innocence and Experience is a captivating exploration of the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as a second baby is about to be born. Alive to the special sweetness of this relationship, Eva Figes also explores the darker side of childhood. How in fairy tales such as 'Snow White', 'Little Red Riding Hood' and 'Hänsel and Gretel' difficult emotions like jealousy and anger, fear of death and abandonment are evoked and transformed by the storyteller's art.

When the little girl begins asking innocent questions about her grandmother's own childhood, she unwittingly opens a door into the past. We are told the tale of the author's privileged Berlin childhood, which was brutally shattered when her family escaped from the Nazis to England, leaving her grandparents behind. But now she is so deep in the forest of the past she finds she must confront the demons that have haunted her since, as a thirteen-year-old, she came to understand how those beloved grandparents died.
The relationship between innocence and experience is complex. So while the inquisitive child opens a door into the dark, by doing so she also allows her grandmother the chance we all seek to sneak back into the garden of innocence.

About Eva Figes

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Eva Figes was born in Berlin and came to London as a child in 1939. She is the author of the feminist classic Patriarchal Attitudes. Her many novels include, Waking, Ghost, and Nelly's Version.
Published January 1, 2003 by BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC. 192 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In between, Figes reads fairy tales to her granddaughter, with special attention to “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Hänsel and Gretel,” and “Snow White.” The volume appears to be an unexpurgated Grimm: at one point, Figes launches into “The Juniper Tree,” then—too late!—realizes the story involves the...

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Publishers Weekly

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Holding my hand in hers, my child's child completes the cycle, leads me homeward."

Feb 10 2003 | Read Full Review of Tales of Innocence and Experi...

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