|The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars|
— $10.36 — Book
This is the first book of the Fairy Tale series, solicited by Terri Windling. The concept was that each author would take an established fairytale and create a book about it. Some of these were more interesting than others.
Steven Brust either used a tale so obscure that no one has every heard of it, or created his own, I'm not sure which. This tale is told in parallel with his story of artists trying to create the next masterpiece, told from the viewpoint of one who feels both superior to the other artists in the studio and inferior at the same time. (That is not all that hard to do; one can feel that one's taste and eye is better than others while still lamenting the lesser skill or genius one possesses.)
There are certain parts which resonate for me: the contempt in which "mere illustrators" are held in the art world, as well as the contempt the protagonist has for art created with an eye to saleability, the longing to be great coupled with the fear of merely being good, and the desperation of thinking that your chance is slipping away.
But as is repeated throughout the book, tastes differ, and in many ways this book failed to jell for me. Perhaps it's the tenuous connection between the fairytale and its supposed ostentation in the real world— I just didn't feel that the parallels were there. There's also the highly artist-centered nature of the book, which makes me feel as though it's a bit of an in-joke, and stale at that.
In the end, though, Brust is still a decent storyteller, so it's worth your while to read a copy.