The Bear and the Nightingale

Russian Fairy Telling Retelling

By Katherine Arden
USA, 2017
Fantasy, Historical

Main Attractions

1.  Russian Fairy Tale Retelling
2.  Plot-Driven, Fast Pace
3.  Clearly Written Language
4.  Interesting Set Up of Plot
5.  Book 1 of a Series
6.  Slightly Spooky Vibes 
7.  Wild Female Protagonist
8.  Drawn Out Climax
9.  Slight Magical Realism
10.  Fairy Tales Woven In

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Summer Salad
 A fast, light read that’s great for lounging in a cabin in the mountains.  The characters develop in a movie like way that makes for faster reading.  The breeziness of the narrative makes for an immersive world that’s easy to fall into.  For added toppings, be sure to explore the original fairy tales!   

Why Visit Here

This book showcases some of Russia’s most well known stories and fairy tales.  It’s told in a very Western way that can be accessible to a wide audience.  Folks who are curious about the culture of Russia or the old ways of life, could enjoy reading this story.  It has a very contemporary feel to the writing style which is appealing to  folks looking for an easy book to read.     

Destination Summary

Magical mysteries surround our young leading lady.  When all of her older sisters are married off, the mysteries become more prominent in everyone’s life.  It’s set in a very historical Russian countryside, generations before cell phones or modern technology.  The atmosphere is very wintery with encroaching magical themes.

Off the Beaten Path

A Modern Man decides to Live Part Time in the 9th Century! 2:50 min
Experimental Archeology Research Project called “Alone in the Past”

Some Cool Medieval Russian Folk Music, 3:57 Min
Based on “Kalinka” By Ivan Larionov, Recreated By Geoff Knorr

Travel Advisory

Some of the Russian names are very Westernized and some nicknames mix up the genders that Russian folks would never use.  The average Western reader would never catch on to these details and they don’t hinder on the story in any way.

Packing List

✓ Good Book of Russian Fairy Tales
✓ Old Style Folk Tunes
✓ Candle, Tea and a Heavy Blanket

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
✓ Norse Mythology By Neil Gaiman (2017) - A good introduction to mythology, arranged with a story arc.
✓ I must dig up an anthology of Russian Folk Tales to share.

Alternate Movies
✓ 12 Months Dvenadtsat mesyatsev/Двенадцать месяцев (1956) Directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano - This movie contains the fairy tales from this book in a truer form.
✓ Father Frost  Morozko/Морозко (1964/1965) Directed By Aleksandr Rou - This movie’s plot overlaps with some of the book’s main plot, it’s a beloved Russian Holiday movie.

Thank you to Andrea for letting me borrow her movie ideas ^.^