Swan's Wing

Swan's Wing

Book - 1981
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A young man with a swan's wing for an arm, a stone carver searching for an object worthy of his talent, and a goose girl travel together searching for their heart's desire which is revealed to them in an unusual way.
Publisher: London : Bodley Head, 1981
ISBN: 9780370304250
Characteristics: 155 p. ; 23 cm


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Nov 07, 2017

I discovered this hidden gem while perusing the book shelves in the Malden library. It is based on a fairytale (“The Wild Swans”) by Hans Christian Anderson, in which 11 princes are turned into swans by their evil step mother. Their sister transforms them back into human form by knitting magical shirts, which she throws over them. Unfortunately, one brother ends up retaining a swan’s wing because his sister did not have time to knit both sleeves of his shirt. Ursula Synge’s story picks up where Anderson’s story ends, focusing on the prince, Lothar, who is fated to live out his human life with a swan’s wing in place of one of his arms. The story is told from the perspective of Matthew, a medieval stonecutter, who unhappy with his life, lays down his tools and begins to wander the countryside. He meets Prince Lothar, and his life is forever changed. Together, with a young girl whom they befriend, they go on a quest to find the means to make Lothar whole again. Beautifully written and almost lyrical, the book’s ending is bittersweet.


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