2020-21 Big Read

The 2020 selection is Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver (2018), which won the 2019 Locus and Mythopoeic Awards for Best Fantasy Novel and was a finalist for the 2019 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.

Naomi Novik is the NYT bestselling and fantasy award winning author of the historical fantasy Temeraire series as well as Uprooted and, of course, Spinning Silver. It’s a fantasy novel that re-envisions the fairy tale, “Rumpelstiltskin,” interweaving it with Jewish, Russian, and Eastern European folklore influences. The novel tackles topics ranging from fractured fairy tales (feminist retellings), to the Jewish diaspora and the suffocating legacies of antisemitism, the ravages of poverty, coming-of-age, romance, and more. But it’s wrapped in engrossing fantasy world building that makes the book an easy sell with readers. 

Reviewers have understandably praised the novel, with one describing it as:

“a perfect tale…rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin.”

Choire Sicha, “Rumpelstiltskin Redux,” New York Time Book Review (3 August 2018)

Naomi Novik will be visiting Purdue on Nov. 12, 2020.

Image credit: Ciprian Boiciuc (@ciprian), “Wooded countryside in winter,” Unsplash (28 Mar. 2017)