Little Black Book of Stories
I have a taste for re-written fairy tales for adults so when I stumbled across this book and found it to be a collection of fairy tales written for adults, here in the 21st century, I was intrigued. It forced me over the limit my husband had “suggested” I spend at the book store but I think he knows me well enough by now to realize any limit he gives me I will invariably go over by four or five dollars.
I wasn’t, going in, expecting fairy glens and unicorns or anything like that. I was wizened up to these sorts of things back in junior high when I first discovered the genre. But, I still wasn’t quite prepared for the direction these fairy tales written for adults took. They were modern, entirely, in the first place. And, secondly, they seemed rather centered around World War II and its aftermath in the UK. Perhaps not so suprising after reading the author bio.
The class, on the other hand, buzzed and hummed with the anticipated pleasure of writing it up, one day. They were vindicated. Miss Fox belonged after all in the normal world of their writings, the world of domestic violence, torture and shock-horror. They would write what they knew, what had happened to Cicely Fox, and it would be most satisfactorily therapeutic.
Each tale brought home to me a different aspect of humanity, whether it was our different ways of dealing with problems, difficulties and unknowns in our lives… perhaps even our ways of dealing with our fears. Something I suppose most fairy tales are about. Though, in this case, they were not necessarily about our valor and courage, but perhaps our methods of coping and surviving and, something most fairy tales aren’t about, the aftermath, our attempts to move on.
The other thing I enjoyed was the author’s ability to take ordinary situations and make them extraordinary, gradually. What starts as two refugee girls exploring a woods, ends with one facing a monster, and the other sharing the tale as a story teller. What begins as a woman facing the death of her mother ends with the woman becoming a statue of stone and myth, no longer concerned with the every day worries that she had before.
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is very much a Thinking Book. After each story I would lay the book aside and go over the plot again and again in my mind, just because there were so many meanings and so much symbolism in each story that I was afraid I would miss some of it, though I am very much under the impression that I probably did miss something obvious. This was the only part of the book that bothered me. My own shortcomings.