"This is the unforgettable world of Isobelle Carmody, presented in fourteen stories written over a period of thirteen years.
Within it you will find roads of paradox on which an angel might be a torturer, or a princess reject a prince to save a rooster. These are paths travelled by seekers of the difficult deepest truths never found on straight roads; here a boy searches for his true name, a group of pilgrims is led by a song on an ancient journey, and a beast discovers hope.
Enter this world and you will never again be sure where reality ends and imagination begins, for sometimes the greatest truths can only be told through imagination …"
I discovered Isobelle Carmody through another short story collection which she co-edited - The Wilful Eye - and loved her writing style. Happily this selection of her own stories didn't disappoint. The stories fall into 3 groups - those set in the here and now, some in what feels like a post-apocalyptic or dystopian future and some in the pure fantasy world of fairy tales. These aren't fantasy stories about elves or ogres but the sort of stories that shed light on our hopes or fears, on what has value or a lack of it, on the thin line between what is real and what imagined, in much the way that traditional folk tales do. Some are poignant, some disturbing, often with ambiguous endings but all leave images that remain long after the story is read.
Although in the YA section of the publisher's catalogue, I loved it - and I'm sure it would appeal to many other adult fantasy readers
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Allen and UnwinGenre - YA fantasy, fairy tales
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