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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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"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."
"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 was recently the George Bennett Fellow in Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is currently writing a novel, The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold. She grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and now lives in Portland, Oregon.
Gregory Maguire’s novels include Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (which became a Broadway musical) and Son of a Witch. Maguire, who writes for children as well as adults, has lectured on art and literature both here and abroad, and is an occasional reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.
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Here are the writers and the fairy tales each used as inspiration:
Joy Williams, Baba Yaga
Jonathon Keats, The Snow Maiden
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Ivan Tsaevich
Alissa Nutting, The Juniper Tree
Francine Pose, Hansel and Gretel
Kevin Brockmeie, Rumpelstiltskin
Neil LaBute, Rumpelstilstskin
Shelley Jackson, The Six Swans
Joyelle McSweeney, The Bremen Town Musicians
Lydia Millet, Snow White and Rose Red
Saah Shun-Lien Bynum, The Erlking
Brian Evenson, Dapplegrim
Michael Cunningham, The Wild Swans
Kaen Joy Fowler, The Wild Swans
Rikki Ducornet, The Little Match Gil
Timothy Schaffert, The Little Mermaid
Katherine Vaz, The Little Mermaid
Karen Bennan, The Snow Queen
Lucy Corin, The Tinder Box
Ilya Kaminsky, The Teapot
Michael Martone, Jack and the Beanstalk
Kelly Link, Catskin
Chris Adrian, Teague O'Kane and the Corpse
Jim Shepard, Jump Into My Sack
Kathryn Davis, Body Without Soul
Kellie Wells, The Story of Grandmother
Sabrina Orah Mark, The Young Slave
Aimee Bender, Donkeyskin
Marjorie Sandor, The White Cat
Joyce Carol Oates, Bluebeard
John Updike, Bluebead
Rabih Alameddine, Sleeping Beauty
Stacy Richter, Cinderella
Neil Gaiman, The Odyssey
Francesca Lia Block, Cupid and Psyche
Lily Hoang, The Story of the Mosquito
Noako Awa, A Kamikakushi Tale
Hiomi Ito, Sansho the Steward
Michael Mejia, Tales from Jalisco
Kim Addonizio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Kate Bernheimer, The Oval Portrait
Don't expect the stories to stick too closely to the source material. But do expect to find some new favorite writers.
If I could have bought only one book this year, it would be collection.