A collection of short stories, retold tales, and fairy stories. Like all short story collections, there were some I liked a lot and others were just OK. I picked this up because Terri Windling wrote the intro, and as far as I’m concerned, that woman is magic. Her collections have introduced me to many of my now favorite authors, and if she tells me to read something, I’m going to read it.
There are sixteen tales in this book. I’m going to do a quick highlight of my favorites. Not to say that I didn’t like some of the others, but these are the ones I liked the most. (I’d never be a good parent. I would totally have a favorite child. I might even make them fight it out from time to time to see who really wanted the coveted Favorite Child Trophy. Oh, and there would be a trophy.)
I really enjoyed the first tale, The Rose in Twelve Petals. This is a Sleeping Beauty story told through twelve different characters and it was wonderful. I love stories that change the hero and make you question the original telling.
Sleeping With Bears makes you wonder how things change when a human Goldilocks hangs out with bears. Are they some sort of human-bears? How does one negotiate a life with humans and bears that behave as humans?
Letters from Budapest is a creepy story of a brother, far from home, studying art. What will you do and who will you become when art is your passion, your religion, your life, and your soul but your government tells you what your art must be? The story is told through letters, and as the artist’s brother reads, I panicked trying to figure out what was going to happen to them both.
I think A Statement in the Case might be my favorite of the bunch because I loved Mike the narrator’s voice. Here’s a guy who holds no truck with fancy or fairy tales. He’s dealt with realities his whole life. I loved his no-nonsense approach to what has happened to his good friend and the way he tells the tale. He reminded me of my dad, except I have a suspicion my dad keeps an eye out for fairy folk. Truth be told, I suspect the same about Mike.
Phalaenopsis: I love a story that makes you go back to the beginning when you read the last line.
I loved Pip and the Fairies. If you stop believing in fairies, do they stop believing in you?
Overall I was pleased with the collection. I wasn’t madly in love with every page, but there were some great stories and characters in here. I’m always impressed with an author who can write a complete short story. You’ve got to tell everything with only a few pages and you can’t waste space trying to explain what you want your reader to know. Show it, show it quickly, and get to the goods.