Gretel and the Dark
Josef Breuer – celebrated psychoanalyst – is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings – to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.
Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people’, so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed…
While a beautiful novel, I struggled with Eliza Granville’s Gretel and the Dark as it was, indeed, very, very dark. I don’t recommend reading this book if you’re going through a bit of a down period or if you’re going through an episode of losing faith in the human race. It’s pretty grim.
Depressing nature aside, this is a beautiful book. Odd to say that, really, but the language itself is gorgeous. The novel is filled with German and Polish words and phrases which makes it at times difficult reading but you’re able to get a fairly good idea of what is being said through character reaction or the author’s explanation. The stories woven in and out throughout the whole book are brilliant and actually mean something within the actual storyline. It sounds weird, and it is, but bear with it!
Up until the last sort of 50 pages or so I had very little idea of what was actually going on but all at once everything clicked together like puzzle pieces. It’s all rather mind bending but the end result is stunning.
Ambitious, creepy and utterly amazing, Gretel and the Dark will unsettle you but keep you turning pages.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.