Kissing the Witch

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins - Emma Donoghue

"Climbing to the witch’s cave one day, I called out,

Who were you

before you came to live here?

And she said, Will I tell you my own story?

It is a tale of a kiss."


I had heard of Emma Donoghue mostly because people kept talking about her novel Room. This, however, was the first encounter I have had with her writing. 


Kissing the Witch is a clever little book that takes well known fairy tales and tells them from the perspective of different women involved in the stories. Each story is then linked through the characters who each tell their own story.


It's a lovely structure and the book made for captivating reading. After all, Donoghue is a great story-teller. However, if we criticise that fairy tales are in need of modernisation because of the dated stereotypes and gender inequality, then Donoghue's approach is equally flawed. It's an entertaining read but hardly any of the male characters are portrayed as decent human beings. It just doesn't do to try and fight fire with fire - or in this case sexism with sexism.