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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Book Review: Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini

I loved Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale, a beautiful novel set in early 1400’s Northern Europe. The story is told by Samuel, the Kingdom of Gora’s court jester, who is struggling to share the reasons his friends, Tycho the storyteller and Agnieszka the cook, have illegally fled from service. Tycho has left Samuel a scroll as a parting gift, and after spending four years learning to read and write, Samuel, a dwarf who lived a life as a traveling entertainer before coming to the court to amuse the King’s daughter, uses his storytelling techniques and skills to unfold Tycho’s tale, “hoarding secrets, {and} revealing them only as necessary”.

The novel provides background on Samuel’s early life as well as the life and tragic love story of the King and his two children. Another important character is Ahab, the court astronomer, who becomes obsessed with learning Tycho’s destiny. The servants of the Kingdom are not free to leave the castle, and Tycho’s storytelling ability is a balm to a court living with an overwhelming cloud of grief. Ahab wonders where Tycho’s stories come from, and this initiates a contemplation of storytelling as an art form. As Tycho falls in love with Agnieszka, he will face difficult decisions that bring him and the reader to a deep understanding of the power of true love.

This was a beautiful, sweeping tale that presents much food for thought regarding true love and storytelling (my favorite topics). I felt as though I was at the mercy of a skilled storyteller as Samuel wove together several narratives that ended with a beautiful and uplifting message. The book took me to another time and place and made me wonder about the human desire for meaningful connections and purposeful work. Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale is the perfect read for anyone who is interested in love and storytelling.

You can purchase it here.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.


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