The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente Ill by Rebecca Green
Ah, the Brontës. All four siblings: Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne are featured in this wildly imaginative, stunningly brilliant fantasy. Little known fact: stories of Glass Town were created by the young Brontës. The children fashioned a world with a set of wooden soldiers where elaborate schemes were hatched and played out in a world of their own creation. Valente uses these stories as the entry point into the fantastical world of The Glass Town Game. One day the foursome leave behind their home in Yorkshire and enter their own fictional country.
With echoes of Louis Carroll’s brilliant satire and wordplay, Valente adds her deft comedic and bitingly perceptive touch to Glass Town.
Compare this exchange between Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Through the Looking Glass to Branwell's reply to a valise named Bestminster Abbey.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
Branwell observes that in Glass Town "All the words here think very much of themselves! Back home, a word just sits in a book and behaves. It doesn't mean anything like it does here.
“Most munificabulous bindles! We are most grateful for your... salvatervention! Intervupption” Crashey was a brave sort. But he couldn’t manage to keep his vocabulary any tidier than his closet.
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
At its heart, this is the story of four children who travel to a land of their imagining, seeking to escape the pain they experience following the deaths of their mother and two older sisters. A tribute to imagination and the power of stories.
And another, until you found the right one at last, the one that ends in joy."
The Game of And
What if someone came along while we weren't looking and swapped the lye for powerful goblin powders and the washing water for Water of Life and...
AND made all of our dresses and Branwell's Sunday suit come to life and take us away to the Kingdom of Clothes where they use thimbles for shillings and buttons for pounds...