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The Fairy Tellers

On sale

20th January 2022

Price: £21.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529327724

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The surprising origins and people behind the world’s most influential magical tales: the people who told and re-shaped them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them and were in turn formed by them.

Fairy-Tales are not just fairy-tales: they are records of historical phenomena, telling us something about how Western civilisation was formed. In The Fairy-Tellers’ Trail, award-winning travel-writer Nick Jubber explores their secret history of fairy-tales: the people who told them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them.

While there are certain names inextricably entwined with the concept of a fairy-tale, such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, the most significant tellers are long buried under the more celebrated figures who have taken the credit for their stories – people like the Syrian storyteller Youhenna Diab and the Wild Sisters of Cassel. Without them we would never have heard of Aladdin, his Magic Lamp or the adventures of Hansel and Gretel.

Tracking these stories to their sources carries us through the steaming cities of Southern Italy and across the Mediterranean to the dust-clogged alleys of the Maghreb, under the fretting leaves of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy hills of Lapland.

From North Africa and Siberia, this audiobook illuminates the complicated relationship between Western civilisation and the ‘Eastern’ cultures it borrowed from, and the strange lives of our long lost fairy-tellers.

(P) 2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Robert Twigger, award-winning author of Red Nile
I love this book - a whole new way into these classic tales. The Fairy Tellers is full of fascinating detail, a must for those intrigued by the traditional tale. Author Nick Jubber is the real thing, a scholar gypsy of courage and skill
Jennifer Croft, author of Homesick and co-winner of the Man Booker International Prize for Flights
Jubber's style is so pervaded with intrigue and adventure that it is impossible not to be swept up by these seven fascinating tales of the neglected tellers of our most treasured stories. The Fairy Tellers brilliantly reveals all the serendipity at the heart of what we think of as eternal, the specific circumstances and individual creativity behind the great archetypes that inform our understanding of our world in childhood and beyond. Enchanting, illuminating, and delightful
Tahir Shah, author of In Arabian Nights
A dazzling treasury of observation, erudition, and folklore - recounted with spellbinding sensitivity and grace
James Crowden, author of The Frozen River
Jubber astutely delves into the origins and deeper meanings of fairy tales and their cultural history - the cooking pot of languages and stories which have continually fed our imagination down the centuries. A fine achievement
Zoe Gilbert, author of Folk
Wondrous. Jubber evokes hidden moments and atmospheres across the world, from smoke-filled dens to exquisite palaces, so beautifully that they will linger long in my memory. A treasure trove of a book
Edward Brooke-Hitching, author of The Phantom Atlas
A fabulous book . . . My favourite kind of nonfiction - skilled writing that takes imaginary worlds and renders them almost tangible
Charles Foster, author of Being a Human and Being a Beast
Magical tales about magical tales and tellers. Jubber, congenially and fascinatingly, explores the land from which the great fairy stories seeped, making the stories more resonant, powerful and important than ever
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, author of Beyond the Northlands
In this rich and sparkling journey, Jubber follows the ink trails of the great storytellers of the past, weaving a tale of his own by turns witty, bawdy, poignant, always eye-opening
Caroline Eden, author of Black Sea
Fantastic, moreish and utterly original, with The Fairy-Tellers Jubber not only takes us through some wildly eclectic histories and landscapes, he also reminds us of what heights travel writing is capable of
Amy Jeffs, author of Storyland
Like a child after the Pied Piper I pursued Jubber into a world both human and full of magic. A carnival of a book, rigorously researched and jostling with life
Professor Nancy Canepa
Insightful, original, and, often, as charming as the tales themselves
Kate Forsyth, author of Bitter Greens
A fabulous quest through time in search of the lost tellers of tales of wonder, Nick Jubber is a master storyteller whose endless curiosity, wit and panache brings the lives of key fairy tale tellers to vibrant life
The Spectator
Engaging and interesting . . . Jubber's book shows the long-sustained value of these narratives, and should make us wonder what might happen to us if they disappeared from somewhere at the back of our brains.
Financial Times
His cornucopia of tellers and tales is a delight, a riveting celebration of a genre that revels in its own hybridity and the imaginative riches produced by the crossing of cultural and literary borders
The Times
Prepare yourself for a wild ride
New European
[Jubber] goes in search of some of the figures responsible for the fairy tales we know today and it pays off, their lives turning out more often than not to be as wild, adventurous and heartbreaking as the stories themselves . . . Importantly these stories are for the people and of the people