This month’s podcast is the opening chapters of Phoenix Bright Eagle, a dark and complex retelling of a classic Russian fairytale by Alexandra Yudovich, read by the author.
You can listen to it at: http://wordswithjam.podomatic.com/
Yudovich knew and loved this tale as a child and wanted to translate it. But when she first triedwriting it down in English, it soon became clear that a straight translation would not to work. Taken out of its native tongue, the story didn’t have the same feeling, the same poetry. So this retelling borrows from Western traditions and blends them seamlessly with the Russian. One traditional element, however, remains firmly centre stage. In Russian fairytales, the woman is no passive figure waiting to be rescued. Like Alenushka in this story, it is she who sets out on a quest; she who, more often than not, must save the prince.
Alexandra Yudovich is a former employee of Radio Free Europe. She now lives in San Francisco.