May 24th, 2009
I don't know if someone already pointed this out, but East is actually a retelling of the story East of the Sun, West of the Moon, that tells of a young girl who is taken away to a mystical castle to live with a white bear (who is really a prince under a curse). Although the beginning of the story is extremely similar to Beauty and the Beast, and may in fact have inspired or been inspired by the story, the real difference is her journey to save the prince from marrying the troll princess, and to do so she must call upon the powers of the West and East winds (I don't remember quite how this is translated in the book, as it has been awhile since I read it, but I believe an Inuit woman helps her navigate the harsh landscape?).
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my all time favorite fables, and I encourage anyone to read it. Sorry about my very long comment, but I am very passionate when it comes to fairy tales, and I didn't want anyone to miss out on the original story. :)