1938: The White Stag (the fawn of a new era)

VERDICT: Trash

Sally’s Rating: 2/5

The White Stag by Kate Seredy retells the myth of the Huns’ journey to find their promised land and the subsequent rise of Attila the Hun.

The book is oddly set up, following four generations throughout their travels as they chase the White Stag. It begins with Nimrod, an old man who looks up to his god for a sign. After his death, his sons hunt for the elusive stag and come into contact with mysterious figures such as the Moonmaidens. It is Attila the Hun who eventually leads his people to their destiny. A short book, The White Stag is a bare-boned substitute for the actual myth, lacking interesting character interactions or vibrant characters.

Since it is based on a myth, emphasis is placed on the plot rather than the characters. The characters themselves are grandiose, out-of-this world individuals, making it hard for the reader to care about them beyond their symbolic meaning. There is nothing to distinguish each hero from the other; their one-note personalities blend together, at times making it seem like they are one person. It’s very much a male-dominated book, with women playing inconsequential roles, as the Huns are constantly conquering or dominating parts of Asia and Europe.

A quick read, The White Stag is recommended for those who enjoy mythology. Seredy’s prose was very lyrical and gorgeous, but the story could have used more depth. While not a terrible read, the book introduced me to a new aspect of Hungarian folklore and showcased a collection of beautiful illustrations.

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