The White Deer – James Thurber

The_White_Deer_-_James_Thurber_cover

A king and his three sons encounter an enchanted deer/woman, who sets each of the sons a challenge.

I was looking for something light and fun to read after finally finishing Michael Moorcock’s The Whispering Swarm. Happily, I ran across James Thurber’s The White Deer, which I had set aside a few days earlier to read. Its light-hearted silliness was the perfect antidote to Moorcock’s droning self-importance.

Thurber is without question my favorite humorist. I grew up reading his stories, and continue to feel he was a genius. This book is no exception. It makes no great pretense at deep analysis – it’s just fun, and a wonderful mix of Thurber’s wit and beautiful writing. He drops moving and beautiful phrases in the midst of entrancing wordplay. The princes’ quests are, naturally, parodies of the standard fairy tale, but respectful, not mocking. Thurber is having fun with the genre while still being part of it.

If you haven’t read Thurber, pretty much any place is a good place to start, including this book. If you have children, this book is very approachable, and fun for young and old alike. Read it!

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