It’s a 48-page novella–packed with beautiful (and dark) imagery–all from the rich imagination of Veronica Schanoes.The piece is about coming-of-age tale, combined with deep-seated prejudice and hatred, family relationships (sibling rivalry), coming-to-America, and so much more. As readers, we’re confronted with all the dark realities from young women in brutal, even deadly, worlds–both old (Poland) and new (America).

Ultimately, what does the title, Burning Girls, really mean? What does the cover art really suggest, before we being our read?

  1. Faust: Here’s a curious re-working of Faust’s infamous bargain with the devil. Instead of the typical situation, the Faustian-type female characters make their deals out of a state of powerlessness and survival instincts. But, they’re still dealing with the evil devil-figure…
  2. Rumpelstiltskin: And, here, we might wish for a repeat of the “Rumpelstiltskin” story (see the full story, by the Brothers Grimm, below), but Burning Girls is not a fairy tale. In an industrial society, where women are on their way to gaining more rights (particularly, compared to their anti-Semitic experience in Poland), the old evils still come back to haunt them.
  3. Salem Witch Trial: The title and the book cover for Burning Girls coalesce–they bring to mind the Salem witch trials and all the other forms of historical barbarity. Mob violence combines with individual acts of cruelty. Even in such a relatively few number of pages, we see the universality of evil, and the horrors of what human beings do to one another (even aside from the devilish interactions).

You’ll find the novella a quick read, and it may even start you thinking about how some of those most-famous works of literature inform and elucidate the text. Here are more details from Tor.

Have you read the novella? What did you think? Please share your thoughts!

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