The Book That Made Me: Jeremy Strong 13/07/20
Barefoot on the Wind
Publisher: Walker Books
This stylish reworking of Beauty and the Beast unfolds in mythical Japan. The Dark Wood imprisons Hana's village; people speak of a monster, a curse. The forest has taken several of Hana's family, and now her brother's dead, and father blames her. Father lies wounded and unconscious: Hana must slay the beast to revive him.
Alone, Hana enters the wood to discover an exquisite, terrible garden, simultaneously home and prison to Itsuki, a repellent yet heartbreakingly beautiful creature. Friendship blooms between them, until Hana discovers the truth at the Dark Wood's heart. Torn between love and loathing for Itsuki, she faces an agonising dilemma.
Beautiful visual imagery, viscerally brutal action and desperate passions make this retelling feel fresh - highlighting the tale's original themes of alienation, isolation and desire.