CREWEL: The Real World in a Fantasy Dystopian Fiction

CREWEL is about weaving magic, replacing time with threads, and discovering what true power is. One of the things I found most fascinating about Genn's brilliant writing is the clever twists of words and double-meaning to much of her world.

The most obvious is the twist of the word "spinster." In our society, we tend to refer to unmarried women as spinsters, and it's a phrase often used in a negative way. But Genn uses spinsters not only to remind readers that her girls must remain single in their service, but also to play on the magic-system of her world--a world where fate and time is literally spun and woven.

This isn't the only story that uses the idea of women spinning fate. In Ancient Greece, the Moirai were three sisters who spun, measured, and cut the threads of life.  In many of the legends, the Moirai is outside the gods' powers, capable of doing as they pleased and unable to be influenced (or threatened or bribed) by the other gods to change what fates they've doled out. In many ways, the Moirai were stronger even than Zeus. They were the ultimate controllers, and the pattern they wove could be altered by no one but them.

Of course, weaving and sewing also play a role in CREWEL, but one of the  things I found most fascinating was the source of the title itself. Crewel embroidery is a special type of embroidery that literally paints a picture with thread. It's probably most famous for being the type of embroidery used for the Bayeux Tapestry.

But at the same time, I can't help but think that Genn picked this title not just because of the link to embroidery, threads, and spinning, but also because of the way it sounds: like "cruel." Because main character Adelice certainly does live in a cruel world...

But I don't want you to think that CREWEL is all about threads and sewing--far be it from that! CREWEL is an exciting dystopian blending science fiction and fantasy, and it is only through clever wordplay and plot twists that you start to see how much detail Genn put into her world. 

But you don't have to just listen to me. Here's Karen Jensen, Teen Services Librarian, and her take on CREWEL:
“This year’s masterpiece…teeming with rich discussions about things like responsibility to society, free will, the role of women, revolution, and more…Crewel could be this generation’s The Handmaid’s Tale."  - Karen Jensen, Teen Services Librarian
What are you waiting for? Discover the world of CREWEL today!


Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved Crewel. So interesting about the the title. I'm so excited for Genn!

Vivien said...

This is a fascinating look at the finer details of Crewel. I'm really eager to unravel the threads myself!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Oooh I love The Hand's Maid Tale. That's quite the compliment. Nice post, love the lore.