All the men are stags and she is a doe.

In The Tale of the Hair by Emma Donoghue my first thought was the above title when the main character mentioned her dream.  The men are all stags, hunters, wolves. dogs baying at her heels.  Things she’s never seen or heard of before, as she is kept in isolation by the incredibly productive woman who takes care of her, but are instantly relevant to her all the same.  The rest of the story I found to be just fairy tale nonsense, regurgitated a thousand times in many other places.  Rapunzel is a familiar story and I believe this is done on purpose in order to evoke those old feelings from childhood.  She’s met a prince!  He’s instantly in love!  Blah blah blah!  The twist is interesting though and not nearly as predictable.  Even this is still pure classic fairy tale however, nothing new.  Would the story be significantly different if the woman had been some more familiar fairy tale trope: The Hunchback or the Woodcutter?  Does it matter?  Ultimately this is pure emotion and nothing else.  This story is the same if it was two men, two aliens, two anything.  And I feel the story is all the richer for that.

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