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My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales Paperback – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014311784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Spooky, shocking, and surreal narrative tricks and treats [in] forty spanking- new stories inspired by classic folktales from around the world are showcased in [this] lavish anthology."
-Elle

"The shiveringly titled My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me proves that the fairy tale can still mutate into new, chilling, often humorous forms... There are many surprising plums in this pie... A fine example...is Aimee Bender's 'The Color Master.'...Kevin Brockmeier's 'A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin' is a grotesque, witty, and melancholy guess into what life must be like for the Rumpelstiltskin... The best story here is an old one by John Updike... Another triumph of realism is Francine Prose's 'Hansel and Gretel.'... Chris Adrian's retelling of the Irish story 'Teague O'Kane and the Corpse' is a gruesome romp. Karen Joy Fowler's 'Halfway People' is eerie and stirring. Jim Shepard's 'Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay' is challengingly complex. And the haunting 'First Day of Snow' by Naoko Awa is a fairy tale that makes you feel like a child again."
-The Boston Globe

“Witty, gruesome, eerie, funny, and . . . fresh, surprising, and vividly sharp . . . this collection offers surprises and delights at every turn. . . . The author contributor list is a huge draw: Neil Gaiman rubs shoulders with Michael Cunningham, Shelley Jackson keeps company with John Updike, and Aimee Bender shares page room with Kelly Link.” —Library Journal

"The fairy tale is not dead. This wonderful collection brings together some of our best contemporary writers and some of our most beloved (and even feared) old stories. Rumplestiltskin, Bluebeard, the Earl-King, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White-all come alive again in vivid and colloquial prose. This is a book of brilliant dreams and dazzling nightmares: perfect fare for imaginative readers of any age."
-Seth Lerer, author of Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter and dean of arts and humanities at the University of California, San Diego

"I cannot remember a time I had more fun reading a book! Many of these contemporary tales rival the originals in creepiness, joy, and impact."
-Darcey Steinke, author of Easter Everywhere

"Let's open the door to the green room and peek to see who is waiting. A bevy of beauties . . . an evanescence of sprites . . . an abundance of adversaries . . . a passel of princes . . . Maybe we should have brought that bubbly; but there's something being served here more deeply inebriating than champagne. Hush."
-Gregory Maguire, from the Foreword
 

About the Author

Kate Bernheimer is the founder of the literary journal Fairy Tale Review as well as the author of two novels and a children's book and he editor of two other anthologies of original short fiction. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Wicked, the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kate Bernheimer has been called "one of the living masters of the fairy tale." She is the author of a novel trilogy and the story collections Horse, Flower, Bird and How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales, among other books. She also has edited four anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award winning and bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales and xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths.

Customer Reviews

I love fairy tales.
Elizabeth Cita
I was highly engaged through this entire collection, and am excited to start looking into some of the writers I was unfamiliar with before reading them here.
Amyjo
I also liked her encouragement to the reader to pick through the book rather than going from beginning to end.
aliasgrace79

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By convergingnow on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd been eagerly awaiting this book's publication for months, and my expectations have been greatly exceeded. These are fairy tales for grown-ups...or, I should say grown-up children. The authors and stories are diverse; there is no consistent literary style. As the editor writes: "The goal was to bring together a variety of writers...whose work had suggested 'fairy tales' to me.Read more ›
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By joyful VINE VOICE on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales Edited by Kate Bernheimer is the book I bought myself for Christmas. You could probably tell by now that I am enchanted with fairy tale retellings and this volume is a treasure chest of the fantastic and strange, vaguely familiar stories from childhood remade. Not to mention that title - which would have made me pick up this book no matter what it was about. Lucky for me what lay inside was individually as unique as the title and accompanied with a short explanation of how they came to be written by each author.

My favorite was "Catskin," by Kelly Link, who states that although she borrowed some elements from Donkeyskin and Rapunzel, she wanted to invent her "own fairy tale" about inhabiting a skin, literally and figuratively. There are orphans, a powerful witch, and many, many cats.

"Since witches cannot have children in the usual way---their wombs are full of straw or bricks or stones, and when they give birth, they give birth to rabbits, kittens, tadpoles, houses, silk dresses,...even witches wish to be mothers---the witch had acquired her children by other nmeans: she had stolen or bought them....One girl she had grown like a cyst, upon her thigh. Other children she had made out of things in her garden, or bits of trash that the cats brought her: aluminum foil with strings of chicken fat still crusted to it, broken television sets, cardboard boxes that the neighbors had thrown out."

Another favorite is "The Mermaid in the Tree" by Timothy Schaffert, the first story I read, which was in the middle of the book. Flipping through the table of contents, the title and the incongruous image it conjured beckoned to me.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By MacBean on February 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you think you're a fan of fairy tales but all you know are the watered-down, Disneyfied versions, steer clear of this book. These are real fairy tales, not magical stories with happy endings to read to your kids at bedtime. They don't flinch away from cannibalism, bestiality, incest, abuse, insanity, death, and general deviance. These modern tales don't stick very closely to the specific stories that inspired them but they DO honor the spirit of them and of fairy tales in general. I LOVE updated/modern/fractured fairy tales and I read them often but most of the time I find one or two good stories amidst a bunch of weak, sugary stuff. This is the first collection I've ever found that didn't disappoint.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me is a collection of forty fairy tales written by various authors, both well known and somewhat unknown. Each author has submitted a retelling or reimagining of classic fairytales from across the world. The editor and creator of this collection of fairytales is Kate Bernheimer. Bernheimer has been working within the fairy tale genre for some time now and is also the founder of the Fairy Tale Review. In her concise but informative introduction to the book she states that her intention and reasoning for this specific collection of fairy tales was to gather all kinds of literary writers, which she accomplished very well. Bernheimer believes that this is the perfect time for fairy tales to be celebrated and states, "This book can help us move forward as readers in a moment of insecurity about the future of books."
The collection of fairy tales includes authors such as, Aimee Bender, Neil LaBute, Joy Williams, and many more. Each of the authors has written an interpretation of a classic fairytale. The book provides a very well structured format for reading fairy tales that is easy to follow, even for fairytale newcomers. The idea for the collection as a whole is very unique and creative and each individual story seems to be better than the next. The variety of authors and style of writing found in the collection makes it truly unique and extremely creative. It gives readers a new view on classic fairy tales. For example, I found Neil LaBute's submission to be particularly entertaining and well done. His story is titled With Hair of Hand-Spun Gold and it is a reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale.
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