FT book review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

Published in the Financial Times, July 14, 2018.

A compilation of 15 reimagined east and south Asian folktales

English-speaking Asian children have a problem. While anthologies of medieval legends and Greek mythology abound, there is a dearth — in English language literature — of distinctly Asian tales.

In this compilation of 15 reimagined east and south Asian folktales, traditional myths take on new-world twists. A mountain loses its heart and a fox-spirit turns gratitude into rice, but this collection is decidedly of its time. Exploring questions of diasporic identity and female agency, the stories take us a step towards achieving the editors’ vision of “a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book”. It is a small but significant opportunity for the cultural east to speak of itself, for itself.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings,  edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, HarperCollins, RRP£12.99, 336 pages

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