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Returning My Sister's Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice Paperback – July 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Noted short story author Foster offers a dozen enchanting and sometimes chilling tales alive with elegantly sketched characters and sensibilities drawn from Asian folklore. Revenge and family loyalty drive the title story as well as The Tears of My Mother, the Shell of My Father and the historical fantasy A Thread of Silk. In Shim Chung the Lotus Queen, good deeds and sacrifice are rewarded, but The Raven's Brocade shows how easily those rewards can be lost. The most memorable stories follow shape-changers: the fox spirits of Year of the Fox, the lively rabbits-turned-human of Daughter of Bótà and a most unusual tea kettle in The Tanuki-Kettle. Readers who long for a break from European medieval fantasy will be charmed and entertained by Foster's tales. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Eugie Foster (July 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607620111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607620112
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book contains twelve stories, originally published as early as 2004, in venues as various as Cricket, Paradox, Realms of Fantasyand Jim Baen's Universe. They are all drawn on Japanese, Chinese or Korean traditions, and in several cases drawn directly from existing folktales or well-known narratives. Being myself disgracefully ignorant of these literary traditions (I could earn maybe a C+ in an oral exam on Introduction to Eastern Religions, but that's about it) I have no idea how well Eugie is reflecting or representing them, but I don't care. She tells her tales with such energy, grace and heart that one feels instantly transported and moved.

My favorite story in the collection was "A Thread of Silk," based loosely on actual historical events in Japan, and weaving together this Japanese tradition of storytelling, a scifi sensibility and a reflection of western (Greek!) mythological tropes. It is a tour de force. I love it especially for its thematic and complexity, its twist added upon twist, a feature also present in "Daughter of Bótù" and "Honor Is a Game Mortals Play."

I also adored "The Tanuki-Kettle," a fairy tale also drawn on a Japanese tale that is too unutterably cute for, er, utterances. I read it aloud to my ten-year-old while he chortled. The newest story in the collection, "The Tears of My Mother, the Shell of My Father," is a strange mixture of adorable cuteness and philosophic profundity.

Nearly as fun as the stories themselves are Eugie's one-paragraph commentaries at the end of each tale, reflecting such things as the family expectations at her own birth, the prevalence of unfair "foxist rhetoric" in Chinese and Japanese folktales, and the habits of her pet skunk.

I recommend this collection highly.
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Format: Hardcover
What a joy, a delight, and an experience that makes a fellow writer breathless for having gone through it. Ms. Foster's collection of stories is mind-boggling in its juxtaposition of both complexity and simplicity. Simple, in that almost all of these stories I could read to my young girls at bed time; complex, in that I would be hard-pressed to emulate the storytelling style of Ms. Foster who has obviously mastered the skill. I've given the book to my 10-year-old daughter who is enchanted by it almost as much as I was. No amount of embarassingly rich praise is too much for this collection. "The Tiger Fortune Princess," "The Tanuki-Kettle," The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon," along with the story from which the book takes its name...classic storytelling flow and structure, set in mostly ancient Asia. So lovely, words fail me, so I shall stop trying to think of them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book! I've been hungry for Asian themed fantasy for a long time and was delighted by this product. Beautifully written, stylized, and engaging. It only suffered from being a collection of short stories and leaving me wanting a longer tale. I hope the author someday publishes a full length fantasy book under the same theme.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I fell in love with the writing style of Eugie Foster through this book. Written from an ethnic world view that's so different from mine, this collection transcended east/west and other dissonances that can separate us in the world. Eugie's writing style is pure, spare, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking. Since reading this book, I have read many of her short stories, and even the ones I disagree with or don't understand on first reading nevertheless grasp my imagination and pull me in. Her writing, and her world view, are both beautiful. I would almost be willing to go to Dragon Com for a chance to meet her! If you love fantasy, or just like having your world expanded while your imagination is completely engaged, Eugie will be your new favorite author. She is a rare author who can make you think deeply while entertaining you totally. I am not exaggerating when I say her writing will someday be considered on an equal footing with that of Tolkein and Ursula Guinn. I recommend this book as well as any other books/stories Eugie has published.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This collection of 12 stories, all based on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folktales, is brilliant. Each story is a carefully polished jewel, with heartfelt emotion and beautiful, descriptive writing. Truly inspiring. It's terribly sad that the author died this past September at age 42. She was a remarkable talent.
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By lyn T. on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't review books very often, but if you are thinking about purchasing a book, I highly recommend this one! This was my first time reading Eugie Foster's short stories, but I will definitely be looking for more!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of short stories is a treasure chest full of jewel-bright talent, pearls of wisdom, and work as exquisite as finely-carved jade. Each story, based on Chinese, Japanese, or Korean folklore, history, or myth, is a gem. Not every story has a happy ending, but all are appropriate. That is a quality perhaps more appreciated in the East -- a sense of the appropriate. A story need not end happily to end well, with a victory for and of the spirit. I enjoyed them enormously and I intend to take a copy to read to my granddaughter at bedtime. As a reader and a writer, I owe Ms Foster my deepest thanks.
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