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Comment: Very good condition trade paperback from Prime Books, 2005. This book has a tight spine and clean pages, edges and wraps. No smoke or mold damage, no loose or missing pages, and no reading creases on the spine. There are no former owner names or store stamps inside, and no cut, torn, loose or dog-eared pages.
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Singing Innocence and Experience Paperback – July 26, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809544792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809544790
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,381,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taaffe's first story collection offers evocative reimaginings of myths and iconic images, from unicorns, golems and ghosts to tragic Orpheus and Eurydice. "Shade and Shadow," "Kouros" and "Featherweight" explore the range of sacrifices some make for love. Humans in love with merfolk find trust is the most important aspect of their relationships in "A Maid on the Shore" and "Till Human Voices Wake Us," while the gift of freedom proves the most precious in the title tale and "Clay Lies Still." One of the few stories not set on contemporary Earth, "Time May Be" asks haunting questions about fate and the nature of humanity. At times the richness and sheer density of the author's wordcraft goes slightly over the top, as in the sensual "Nights with Belilah" and the tragic "Retrospective." Despite the presence of a few too many earnest young student-artists and musicians obsessed with love or knowledge, Taaffe's gift for evoking mood and revealing hard truths beautifully is nothing short of marvelous. (Dec.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin R. Kiernan on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is brilliant. It shines with the darkness and light of wonder and awe which I have spent the last fourteen years trying to put down on paper. Indeed, I have no trouble saying that these stories are one of the rare bits of fiction to wow me in the last decade. They hit me like Bradbury hits me, or Angela Carter, or Kathe Koja, Thomas Ligotti or Shirley Jackson. They revel in the power of myth, but in no unseemly way. They strain to contain the sheer force of their telling. In these pages, the reader will find a woman made of stars (or stars in the shape of a woman), a cynical unicorn and a reluctant virgin, an ophiomorphic plague, the place where lost ships go, a glimpse of Lot's nameless wife and an encounter with Adam's nameless and untouchable second wife, an accidental golem, a perfectly ordinary teenage boy perplexed at the coming loss of his nereid sister, drowned ghosts and terrible sacrifice, the singing head of Orpheus, and a hundred marvels more. If you still have a heart and have not forsaken wonder for the mythless drought which so many seem to mistake for adulthood, these stories will leave you breathless, as will Sonya Taaffe's astounding way with words. And all this from an author who is surely at least ten years my junior. I'd give my left hand for such language and the mind in back of it all. And I say none of these things lightly. If my writing or my opinion means anything at all to you, please, please buy this collection and devour it and be amazed. Buy this book. If it contained only "Constellations, Conjunctions" and "Kouros," it would be worth twice the price. -- Caitlín R. Kiernan (greygirlbeast)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sonya Taaffe, Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime, 2005)

I feel like something of a sycophant writing this review so soon after writing my review for Ms. Taaffe's other extant book, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens. I don't mean to be. I mean, it's not like I'm going to get scads of free dinners out of it or anything, since she lives hundreds of miles away. Postcards got, and Singing gets, rave reviews for one simple reason: they're brilliant.

Whereas Postcards was mainly poetry interspersed with a little prose, Singing goes the other way. Some pieces are repeated in the two books, but each of them is worth reading twice, even in relatively quick succession. But I've already sung the praises of Taaffe's short work in other places. What matters in the review are the longer stories. I mentioned in a recent review (of Charles Simic's memoirs) the truism that poets and short story writers are, with very rare exceptions, a different breed of animal altogether; those who can write excellent poetry are more often than not simply above-average storytellers. Good, but not as brilliant as they are poets. And the same usually holds true going the other way. Taaffe is one of those rare creatures who, it seems, is capable of doing both at the highest level of ability. Actually, if anything, she's slightly better at short stories. I rush to add, however, I had a lot more pages of short stories with which to judge.

Each of the stories here is a winner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sonya Taaffe is a writer of some of the most intense and image-drenched prose around. Line by long, exquisite, line her writing is desperate and involving. Indeed she made her first major impression on me as a poet - and I think she may be the best poet working in the SF genre right now. But she has also been publishing short stories all over the place, often on mythical or traditional fantastical themes but always individual and always centered on a central character's obsession. As I have intimated, the prose is really striking, lush, very poetical. In his introduction Tim Pratt suggests among others Theodore Sturgeon as an influence, and that seems apposite: not just in her thematic concerns but in the desperate feel to some of the prose. If there is a fault it is that read back to back the voice begins to sound a bit too similar story to story, the emotional register seems pitched always the same. (And here a look at Sturgeon is instructive - he being a writer who could and did vary his register greatly.) But this is a mild fault - taken each by itself the stories are moving jewels, and Taaffe seems a writer poised to grow into her powers. (Indeed, her latest stories, not included here, seem to me to be her best yet.)

Singing Innocence and Experience is an excellent introduction to Taaffe's work. It collects 16 stories and 7 poems, dating back to 2001. The poems are characteristic of her work, with the same long lines and sharp images as the prose, and with thank goodness complete and logical sentences: not just syntactical elements thrown against the wall is with some poets.

My favorites among the stories include "Constellations, Conjunctions", a very early piece.
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