Kara Dalkey,
The Nightingale
(Ace, 1991)

The Nightingale is an entry in the Fairy Tale series that includes such notables as Briar Rose (Jane Yolen) and Snow White & Rose Red (Patricia C. Wrede). Kara Dalkey retells the familiar story of the nightingale -- but places it in a setting of feudal Japan rather than the original China.

Dalkey is clearly fond of Japanese culture, and her knowledge of the many different aspects of its religions is impressive. She builds an evocative Japanese background and fills it with new interpretations of an old fairy tale. The nightingale is no longer a bird, but a very human woman whose flute is a tool through which dead ancestors seek vengeance on the emperor.

The book is quite enjoyable, rather like her newer novels Little Sister and The Heavenward Path for an older audience.

book review by
Jennifer Mo

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