book cover of The Stone Cage

The Stone Cage

A novel by

Nicholas Stuart Gray is one of the great forgotten children's authors of the sixties and seventies, though his books were still around in libraries when I was a child. His novels are superb. His short story collections are even better. I rate him as the best writer of fairy tales and fantasy short stories for children in the 20th century, but he is almost unknown now. This is possibly his best novel, a superb and very original retelling of the story of Rapunzel, both very funny and chilling with some exquisite moments, as icy and intricate as snowflakes. It may be a bit difficult for the youngest readers, as he employs sophisticated adult devices such as an unreliable narrator and complex psychological characters, and maybe a bit scary, as the witch is physically abusive towards her captives. In the end, though, it is a story about the redeeming power of love. I have always wondered if Disney stole the name Mother Gothal from this book or if is in the original Grimm story. The tale is mostly related by the witch's cat and if you love cats you will love this book. Tomlyn is such a cool cat!

Genre: Children's Fiction

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