The Threefold World by Ellen Kushner


Under My HatTitle: The Threefold World
Author: Ellen Kushner
Series: The World of Riverside #0.1
In: Under My Hat (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Witches
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: Could his friends recite from memory the Latin poems of Virgil?

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Elias Lönnrot is a young scholar with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He loves reading the Latin poetry of Virgil or the Greek classics like The Iliad and The Odyssey. However, he doesn’t give much thought to his own Finnish culture. In fact, he rather scorns it. His school friends try to sway his opinion by telling him about stories of their ancestors who sang spells that could change the world. Elias thinks this is nonsense until he meets an old peddler on the road one day who changes his mind in a dramatic way.


Pride cometh before the fall.

Or something like that. This great short story focuses on the ways in which our pride and ignorance can lead to some dire consequences. Yet, there is a nice, happy ending to this story. Although the main character’s pride almost leads to his death, it is his ability to let go of his pride and embrace his peoples’ history that ultimately saves him and creates a healthy life.

Although this is a story about a witch, it is also a tale about embracing your culture and history. I found it especially relevant in today’s society of globalisation. It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon of “progress” than it is to hold onto your cultural morals and norms.

 <- The Education of a Witch Review The Witch in the Wood Review ->
Image source: Frances Hardinge

3 thoughts on “The Threefold World by Ellen Kushner

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