Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Forgotten and the Fantastical - edited by Teika Bellamy

review by Maryom

In The Forgotten and The Fantastical Teika Bellamy has brought together eleven writers to explore old myths, fables and fairy tales and re-cast them in a new light. There are some you will recognise; Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella are given a modern twist in Footfalls of the Hunter and Screaming Sue, Lady Seaweed re-tells the legend of The Mermaid of Zennor from the mermaid's point of view, and The Cave offers an alternative interpretation of the entombment of Merlin. Others strike out into new areas - The Sparrows and The Beefworms is a fable about the pressure 'experts' put on us to conform to their way,  Geppetto's Child an exploration of what it is to be 'human'. Some like The Boy and the Bird, The Mother Tree and the Paper House, feel like old folk tales, although I've not encountered these before. And one, The Wanderer's Dream based loosely on a Japanese story, The Dream of Akinosuke, reminded me of Star Trek's Capt Picard's dream-adventure in the episode The Inner Light (geeky I know, but there's nothing new about the morphology of the folk tale and where it can end up)
Now, I know this kind of tale doesn't appeal to everyone but I was enthralled by fairy tales as a child and, from Neil Gaiman to Seren's New Stories from the Mabinogion series and Allen and Unwin's Tales from the Tower, I love these re-tellings with a more grown-up adult twist, and really enjoyed this collection. As ever they contain that mix of morality tale and the fantastical that has kept them popular throughout the years.
It's a fairly slim volume with the stories themselves adding up to about 100 pages with notes on the authors and background to their adaptations included at the end of the book, in case you're interested.
Published by a small independent press, it doesn't have the glossy high-impact cover of something from a big publisher, but, as they say, don't judge a book by its cover - the stories inside are as intriguing and memorable as any I've read elsewhere.

Authors - Rebecca Burland, Becky Cherriman, Tomas Cynric, Barbara Higham, CM Little, NJ Ramsden, Lisa Shipman, Marija Smits, Lindsey Watkins

 Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher -
Mother's Milk Books
Genre -
adult folk/fairy tales

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