First, here - it's free: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valente_10_11/
I'm very tempted to throw this on my "favorites" shelf.
I cannot tell you, exactly, what I adore about this novella. Certainly, this work was a gimme for me to love. I adore Cat Valente's prose. I love mentally chewing on, and savoring the flavors she creates with her flowing, meandering tones, and her beautiful word choices. Fairy tales/folk tales/mythology are among my very favorite subjects, and re-told tales are like crack for me.
This whole novella is about life and feelings and and growing and being. What is real and what is not real. What Is. And what do we need and how do we see? How do we react to other
and what do we see in other, do we see other in ourselves? It's evolution, it's denial, it's pushing boundaries and creating them. It's just... amazing.
My second favorite fairy tale had my favorite passage:
But he saw nothing, nothing, and when the crone came again to his house, she had in her hand a beautiful red apple, and she gave it to him saying: you are not a man. Eat this; it is my disappointment. Eat this; it is all your sorrow. Eat this; it is as red and open as a wounded hand.