Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Witch and Other Tales Told

The Witch and Other Tales Told
Jean Thompson

Published September 2014

First Sentence
"My brother and I were given over to the Department of Children and Family Services after our father and his girlfriend left us along in the car one too many times."

Publisher's Description:

A brilliant new collection of stories that put a modern twist on classic fairy tales, from National Book Award finalist and New York Times-bestselling author Jean Thompson.

Great fairy tales are not necessarily stories designed for children. The lurking wolf in “Red Riding Hood,” the gingerbread house that lures Hansel and Gretel, the beauty asleep in her castle—these fables represent some of our deepest, most primeval fears, and satisfy our longing for good to win out over evil (preferably in the most gruesome way possible). In this captivating new collection, critically acclaimed author Jean Thompson takes the classic fairy tale and brings it into the modern age with stories that capture the magic and horror in everyday life. The downtrodden prevail, appearances deceive, and humility and virtue triumph in The Witch, as lost children try to find their way home, adults tormented by past unspeakable acts are fated to experience their own horror in the present, and true love—or is it enchantment?—conquers all. The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told is a haunting and deeply entertaining collection, showcasing the inimitable Jean Thompson at the height of her storytelling prowess.

Dear Reader,

I reached out to the publisher to get this book early because it caught my eye as being "my thing". And it was but I've been reading so many short stories lately which had me craving a good novel. Without that trouble, I really did like this book. This is a compilation of revamped fairy tales and folklore, each one brought to the modern day (or almost all of them). Most of the stories don't have that "happy ending" and are steeped in actual tragedy within the world we live in. I really liked that realistic take on those magical stories we've grown up on. The introduction to the stories talks a little about the strong connection the Author has to these tales and how she wanted to do something a little different with them. She also introduces her "kid" self sitting in the dentists chair gobbling up a fairy tale painting with her eyes. Thompson explains that this beautiful print was called "The Land of Make Believe", it beheld a map of all the magical creatures and places any kid would want to visit or befriend. The original painting was done by Jaro Hess and can still be found to this day. I think it would make a wonderful "deluxe" edition to this book of stories and can only hope the Author and publisher think so too. Here is the map:

How magical is that map? I wish I had it in my own house growing up. Talking about pictures, I LOVED the cover of this book and I can't really pinpoint why. Maybe because these "real" girls have a haunted look to them and they also exude fantasy too?! Whatever it is, the cover most definitely caught my eye. The stories had a great quality to them and stuck to those same lessons learned from the earlier tales. My only gripe would be the length of them, some of the stories I thought could have been better written as their own book (they ended so abruptly). For example, in "The Witch", just as things start to get dramatic, the story ends so abruptly. I could have seen this turned into a novella or something. Despite that, I did like what she did with the stories, modernizing them and giving them relatability. Overall, this story collection is worth a read.

Happy Reading,

The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told

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