The Aquamarine Issue is the fifth anniversary issue of Fairy Tale Review, and is appropriately its most oceanic, its most aesthetically diverse, issue to date. Despite this diversity the fairy tale pulse or "feel" is present in each piece in The Aquamarine Issue. What also contains this issue and holds it within the salt palace of tiny sea horses is how the narratives and poems, taken together in here, can be seen to contribute not only to the very important living body of contemporary fairy tales--so nascent and now--but also to the conversation about what constitutes "a fairy tale," that monumental type of art.
The Blue Issue is the inaugural issue of Fairy Tale Review. Swiss scholar Max Luthi wrote about fairy tales as literary examples of abstract art. The strange quality that Luthi identifies as "firm form" is sparse, flat and depthless as it is wild, weightless and bright. The writing selected for the debut issue of Fairy Tale Review reflects this quality in a multitude of ways. The work in here is not beholden to any particular school of writing. Rather, each contribution uniquely dovetails with the aesthetics and motifs of fairy tales.
Brown is the color of the wolf, of the harvest-ravaged farm, of thatched roofs, of cinnamon cake, of autumn, of snuff, of wooden boxes (bridal chests, watch cases, humidors, coffins). If ever there was a color more suited to earthly existence, it's the color of earth itself. And earthly existence is at the very heart of fairy tales, despite all the unearthly circumstances depicted.
Fairy Tale Review is an annual literary publication dedicated to publishing new fairy-tale fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. It seeks to expand the conversation about fairy tales among practitioners, scholars, and general readers. Contents reflect a diverse spectrum of literary artists working with fairy tales in many languages and styles. In the Emerald Issue, new stories, poems, essays, and artwork is inspired by the themes of "emeralds" and "Oz". In Frank L. Baum's introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the author indicates that his story "aspires to being a modernized fairy tale" in opposition to the "historical" stories with all their "horrible and blood-curling incident".
The sheer volume of responses to the first issue of Fairy Tale Review shows that fairy tales continue to be one of the most viable art forms. In fairy tales, all things are interdependent, mysteriously and insanely entwined. They contain a deeply ecological world. The Green Issue is devoted to new fairy tales, with a special consideration for nature. The unbridled individualism at work in the literary forms most dominant today devalues the natural world in relation to the human. In fairy tales, the human world and the animal world are collapsed. The collapse remains open to wonder and change. In this way, fairy tales provide the possibility for narratives to shine a different sort of terrible light on the natural world. This world is transparent, imperiled, abstract, and new. In this world, clarity and wonder go hand and hand.
When we speak of grey as a location, placing a thing into a grey area, the color represents territory where the definite becomes lost. Grey lets us know that the truth is not always clear; even the most well-known paths can turn strange when a low grey cloud of fog rolls in. Grey is an act of subtraction, the loss of sun, joy, and color. Regrets are the natural property of grey hairs, said Dickens. Since grey is a symbol for the loss of youth, it seems a fitting issue for a theme about youth who are lost. Getting lost is one of the most widely used narrative vehicles of all time. Once characters become lost, they can stumble upon anything--it's a light-speed bullet train between credibility and suspension of disbelief. Falling down a rabbit hole or stepping off the trail in a labyrinthine wood can transport a character to another world entirely in a manner of seconds. When a protagonist starts to get lost, something exciting is about to happen.
Mauve is a new word with old roots. The color's earlier incarnations--Tyrian purple (given for the shade of Roman emperors' cloaks) and aniline purple--were abandoned when, to increase the popularity of Perkin's dye, its sellers named the color after a French flower called the mallow. When we consult the dictionary, it tells us that the mallow is a herbaceous plant with hairy stems and pink or purple flowers. Its fruit comes shaped in wedges and so it is nicknamed the cheese plant. Mallows are grown as ornamentals, and mallows are grown as edibles. Some are for looking at, others are for eating. We want this issue to be both--a mallow, a marsh, a cake that defies old proverbs. Gaze at it. Eat it too. Consume, ravage, devour it. Why, go ahead and try it on, walk around in it as long as you like. Either way, we promise you'll look ravishing.
Like all fairy tales, the story of Little Red gets strength from its multitudes. It is a moving hive, a travelling pack of translations and interpretations too numerous to catalogue. It manages to examine our most salient tropes in binaries, and the equators formed in this contrast are tangential contradictions: The tale is at once innocent and sexual. It mingles the vulnerable with the predatory, and overlaps captivity with freedom. It is both fable and fairy tale, and a horror story to boot: a naïve individual walking into a den of trickery. Then comes that eerie, parsed-out realization when our girl comes to terms with what the readers have known all along: things are not as they seem. What a fright, when something categorized as safe becomes compromised and inverted, when the familiar is replaced with the unknown. In this issue, we add new footprints to the path through the woods. Some of these pieces retell the tale; others explore its place in our minds and our culture.
"At an early age, children are weaned on the marvelous, and later on they fail to retain a sufficient virginity of mind to enjoy fairy tales," Andre Breton wrote in 1924. "There are fairy tales to be written for adults," he continued. "Fairy tales almost blue." Violet flowers are often described as "almost-blue," which is how this color was chosen. This issue of Fairy Tale Review focuses on fairy tales for adults.
"All great novels are great fairy tales," wrote Vladimir Nabokov many years ago, and Fairy Tale Review continues to believe that all great literary works owe everything to fairy tales. In this issue you will find work represented that draws from the spectacular, old tradition of fairy tales in brilliant new ways. An increased understanding of the precise and incredible fairy-tale techniques, so wonderfully elucidated by the scholar Max Luthi, but expanded, in the aesthetic of Fairy Tale Review, to contemporary literature across the styles and genres, may help resolve the unfortunate schisms that sometimes arise between so-called mainstream and avant-garde writers and critics. In this issue you will find work across so many such borders; some of the writing refers to specific fairy tales, but much of it simply feels like a fairy tale; and how it feels like a fairy tale is through language, through form. Please spread the word that fairy tales are the newest and oldest aesthetic; and they give our lives fearful, beautiful shape. Form is fairy tale, fairy tale is form.
This issue is themed around yellow: the color of my skin, my namesake, the color used to describe four billion plus Asians, and this doesn't even account for the diasporic population. Yellow, the color of diseased skin and diseased people. Yellow, the color of aging. All these denigrations contained in one color, none of which actually resemble the color itself. Because yellow is bright. It is electric. It inspires. And the works in this issue are as effulgent as yellow itself, but lurking--as yellow always lurks--is something sinister and bold, the color forcing itself up and out, revealing, transforming. Yellow yields metamorphosis.
Once there was a girl who lived in a castle. The castle was inside a museum. When children visited, they'd press against the glass globe in which the castle sat, to glimpse the tiny girl. But when they went home, the girl was lonely. Then one day, she had an idea! What if you hung a picture of yourself inside the castle inside the museum, inside this book? Then you'd able to keep the girl company. Reminiscent of "The Lady of Shalot," here is an original fairy tale that feels like a dream--haunting, beautiful, and completely unforgettable.
Young fans of the Disney movie Tangled will especially love this hair-raising story. What happens when one little girl refuses to brush her long, beautiful hair? Well, one day a mouse comes to live in a particularly tangled lock. Soon after, more mice move in, and the girl's unruly mop is transformed into a marvelous mouse palace complete with secret passageways and a cheese cellar! She loves her new companions--they tell knock-knock jokes and are sweet to her doll, Baby--but as the girl comes to find out, living with more than a hundred mice atop your head isn't always easy. . . . Here's an fantastic tale that will have kids poring over the mice's elaborate world within the girl's wild, ever-changing hairdo.
"Each of these spare and elegant tales rings like a bell in your head. memorable, original, and not much like anything you've read."-Karen Joy Fowler"A strange and enchanting book, written in crisp, winning sentences; each story begs to be read aloud and savored."-Aimee Bender"Horse, Flower, Bird rests uneasily between the intersection of fantasy and reality, dreaming and wakefulness, and the sacred and profane. Like a series of beautiful but troubling dreams, this book will linger long in the memory. Kate Bernheimer is reinventing the fairy tale."-Peter Buck, R.E.M.In Kate Bernheimer's familiar and spare-yet wondrous-world, an exotic dancer builds her own cage, a wife tends a secret basement menagerie, a fishmonger's daughter befriends a tulip bulb, and sisters explore cycles of love and violence by reenacting scenes from Star Wars.Enthralling, subtle, and poetic, this collection takes readers back to the age-old pleasures of classic fairy tales and makes them new. Their haunting lessons are an evocative reminder that cracking open the door to the imagination is no mere child's play, that delight and tragedy lurk in every corner, and that we all "have the key to the library . . . only be careful what you read."
Elegant and brutal, the stories in Kate Bernheimer's latest collection occupy a heightened landscape, where the familiar cedes to the grotesque and nonsense just as often devolves into terror. These are fairy tales out of time, renewing classic stories we think we know, like one of Bernheimer's girls, whose hands of steel turn to flowers, leaving her beautiful but alone.Kate Bernheimer is the author of the short story collection Horse, Flower, Bird and the editor of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales and the journal Fairy Tale Review.
When a wonderful new book arrives at the library, at first it is loved by all, checked out constantly, and rarely spends a night on the library shelf. But over time it grows old and worn, and the children lose interest in its story. The book is sent to the library's basement where the other faded books live. How it eventually finds an honored place on a little girl's bookshelf--and in her heart--makes for an unforgettable story sure to enchant anyone who has ever cherished a book. Kate Bernheimer and Chris Sheban have teamed up to create a picture book that promises to be loved every bit as much as the lonely book itself.
Fairy tales are one of the most enduring forms of literature, their plots retold and characters reimagined for centuries. In this elegant and thought-provoking collection of original essays, Kate Bernheimer brings together twenty-eight leading women writers to discuss how these stories helped shape their imaginations, their craft, and our culture. In poetic narratives, personal histories, and penetrating commentary, the assembled authors bare their soul and challenge received wisdom. Eclectic and wide-ranging, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is essential reading for anyone who has ever been bewitched by the strange and fanciful realm of fairy tales. Contributors include: Alice Adams, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Ann Beattie, Rosellen Brown, A. S. Byatt, Kathryn Davis, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Deborah Eisenberg, Maria Flook, Patricia Foster, Vivian Gornick, Lucy Grealy, bell hooks, Fanny Howe, Fern Kupfer, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carole Maso, Jane Miller, Lydia Millet, Joyce Carol Oates, Connie Porter, Francine Prose, Linda Gray Sexton, Midori Snyder, Fay Weldon, Joy Williams, Terri Windling.
The fairy tale lives again in this book of forty new stories by some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction. Neil Gaiman, "Orange" Aimee Bender, "The Color Master" Joyce Carol Oates, "Blue-bearded Lover" Michael Cunningham, "The Wild Swans" These and more than thirty other stories by Francine Prose, Kelly Link, Jim Shepard, Lydia Millet, and many other extraordinary writers make up this thrilling celebration of fairy tales--the ultimate literary costume party. Spinning houses and talking birds. Whispered secrets and borrowed hope. Here are new stories sewn from old skins, gathered by visionary editor Kate Bernheimer and inspired by everything from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" and "The Little Match Girl" to Charles Perrault's "Bluebeard" and "Cinderella" to the Brothers Grimm's "Hansel and Gretel" and "Rumpelstiltskin" to fairy tales by Goethe and Calvino and from China, Japan, Vietnam, Russia, Norway, and Mexico. Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.
Edward Hopper's painting "Office at Night" is open to endless interpretation. In this collaborative novella, Kate Bernheimer and Laird Hunt borrow from his practice of improvising on "the facts" of observation to create a work of art, imagining the lives of its characters: stenographer Marge Quinn and her boss, the sometimes painter Abraham Chelikowsky.
Fifty leading writers retell myths from around the world in this dazzling follow-up to the bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Icarus flies once more. Aztec jaguar gods again stalk the earth. An American soldier designs a new kind of Trojan horse--his cremains in a bullet. Here, in beguiling guise, are your favorite mythological figures alongside characters from Indian, Punjabi, Inuit, and other traditions. Aimee Bender retells the myth of the Titans. Madeline Miller retells the myth of Galatea. Kevin Wilson retells the myth of Phaeton, from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Emma Straub and Peter Straub retell the myth of Persephone. Heidi Julavits retells the myth of Orpheus and Euridice. Ron Currie, Jr. retells the myth of Dedalus. Maile Meloy retells the myth of Demeter. Zachary Mason retells the myth of Narcissus. Joy Williams retells the myth of Argos, Odysseus' dog. If "xo" signals a goodbye, then xo Orpheus is a goodbye to an old way of mythmaking. Featuring talkative goats, a cat lady, a bird woman, a beer-drinking ogre, a squid who falls in love with the sun, and a girl who gives birth to cubs, here are extravagantly imagined, bracingly contemporary stories, heralding a new beginning for one of the world's oldest literary traditions.
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