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Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold Paperback – July 5, 2016
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“Paula Guran has collected some of the best re-tellings of our favorite fairy tales in recent memory. These twists on old standards and adaptations breathe new life into these classic stories. You’ll find yourself lost in the pages of this book, and it will be well worth it when you come out on the other side.”―Convergence Book Reviews
“An interesting mix of fairy tales with horror and dread sprinkled through the stories. You won't think of your fondest fairy tales without remembering what these authors thought up! . . . Give this anthology a read”―Independent Online Booksellers Association
“Entertaining fairy tales for adults. . . . I liked it very, very much.”―Lump Lit
“A fairy tale landscape beyond the literary craft workshop . . . it’s about time that so-called “genre writers” claim their rightful place around the fairy tale fire. After all, fantasy and sci-fi owe much to the wonder of the fairy tale.”―Something to Read for the TrainM
“A broad and varied collection . . . you will definitely find something to enjoy.”―Unicorn Ramblings
“Exactly what it sets out to be - a compilation of fairy tales retold for the modern generation. . . . I would recommend this extremely long tome to anyone who is a fan of fairy tales and/or horror stories.”―ATSP
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Here's who wrote what in this book:
Introduction: Throwing In – Paula Guran
Tanith Lee – “Red as Blood”
Gene Wolfe – “In the House of Gingerbread”
Angela Slatter – “The Bone Mother”
Elizabeth Bear – “Follow Me Light”
Yoon Ha Lee – “Coin of Hearts Desire”
Nalo Hopkinson – “The Glass Bottle Trick”
Catherynne M. Valente – “The Maiden Tree”
Holly Black – “Coat of Stars”
Caitlín R. Kiernan – “Road of Needles”
Kelly Link – “Travels with the Snow Queen”
Karen Joy Fowler – “Halfway People”
Margo Lanagan – “Catastrophic Disruption of the Head”
Shveta Thakrar – “Lavanya and Deepika”
Theodora Goss – “Princess Lucinda and the Hound of the Moon”
Gardner Dozois – “Fairy Tale”
Peter S. Beagle – “The Queen Who Could Not Walk”
Priya Sharma – “Lebkuchen”
Neil Gaiman – “Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale”
Richard Bowes – “The Queen and the Cambion”
Octavia Cade – “The Mussel Eater”
Jane Yolen – “Memoirs of a Bottle Djinn”
Steve Duffy – “Bears: A Fairy Tale of 1958”
Charles de Lint –“The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep”
Veronica Schanoes – “Rats”
Rachel Swirsky – “Beyond the Naked Eye”
Ken Liu – “Good Hunting”
Kirstyn McDermott – “The Moon’s Good Grace”
Peter Straub – “The Juniper Tree”
Jeff VanderMeer – “Greensleeves”
Tanith Lee – “Beauty”
If you were aware that the editor, Paula Guran, edits the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series, you would be prepared for this. I sort of absorbed that, but it did not register totally until I started reading the stories and found that indeed, most of these tales were on the darker side, with some extremely grim ones. I'm not complaining. I don't need all my stories to have happy endings. As it was, I enjoyed most of the stories included in the anthology; there was only 1 story that I distinctly disliked.
Some of these stories are based on very familiar fairy tales, some on the not-so-familiar. Others are totally new fairy tales, but using plot devices, settings or situations common within the fairy tale formula/genre. These do not only stick to the common English/European/American tales - there are Chinese, Indian and Arabian fairy tales, as well as possibly more from cultures I am not familiar enough with to identify.
But "based on" is a rather misleading term to use. Each writer brings a new perspective to well-worn tales, either retelling the story from a minor character, or from the antagonist's point of view. Some of them rewrite the whole story, giving us new endings altogether. Others retain the shape of the story, but bring it into modern times.
I would recommend this extremely long tome to anyone who is a fan of fairy tales and/or horror stories. Unless you're a kid. I would not recommend this for children.
Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
At first blush the retelling of fairy tales may seem frivolous, immature, or even blase and dated. These stories are none of those things, being original, endlessly creative, and profoundly enjoyable reading. :)