This one is too short to count toward my CBR goal but I didn’t want to leave it off my review list because I really enjoyed it.
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses is (are you ready?) a collection of retold and re-imagined fairy tales.
I love this genre. I don’t know if it’s possible to have a favorite of any type of book when you love books so much, but fairy tales and folklore are way up on the list, and when they turn into retold tales and urban fantasy, my knees get weak.
There are twenty two stories here, including Rapunzel, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Hansel and Gretel, the Ugly Duckling, Rumpelstiltskin, Red Riding Hood, and the Princess with that damned pea.
The tales are told as short poems without much introduction. We know who Cinderella is, so when we hear the aftermath from the stepsisters’ point of view, we don’t need to hear all that crap about the ball again.
To make these stories all the more sweet is the amazing mix between Once Upon and Time and Modern Time.
Cinderella’s stepsisters have surgery instead of their mother hacking off their toes.
Rapunzel’s mother talks about her three times a week therapy appointments. The prince meets other princes in rehab while he waits for his eyes to heal.
The Little Match Girl is selling her CDs on the corner. The cops find her dead, but what are you going to do?
A soldier makes a pact with the devil where he’ll wear the bearskin for seven years so his PTSD will stop.
The Beast is a bit bored now. The weather is perfect, he’s a man again, but sometimes he really misses those fangs.
Hansel and Gretel? Oh, they are pissed. So very pissed.
Death makes his godson an amazing football player, poised to win the Heisman. Things don’t go so well.
If you spit jewels when you speak and your sister spews toads, how on earth to you expect to keep a husband?
When you’re the only one speaking the truth about the Emperor’s New Clothes, how long can you hold out?
The miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin? Life is so boring after you’ve won a dangerous game. Surely there’s got to be something much more dangerous out there in the woods.
Little Red Riding Hood is trying to tell the story to her mom, but god, stop interrupting me! The whole thing was, like, gross? But whatever. I let him. And then some dude shows up with scissors and it’s wicked gay, but whatever, I’m hungry and you need to get off my back, OK?
I love it.
The illustrations are amazing. Koertge wrote some beautiful lines, but without Dezso’s art, this book wouldn’t have been as good. The art is all black on white in woodcut style. The lines are sharp and deep. Shadows and movement surround the cuts and you can almost see the red of the blood as it drips down someone’s chin.
Even better? Dezso is an art professor at Amherst College, so I bet I could go see her work in person somewhere. http://andreadezso.com/
Hole. Lee. Shit. She did embroidery of things her mother said to her as a child. Transylvanian moms are AMAZING!
I need to stop looking at her page or I’m going to stay up for another hour and I should really go to bed.
If you like folklore, fairy tales and slightly fucked up shit, get this book. It’s much tamer than the monkey sex in Robert Coover’s Briar Rose but not purified like Disney.