Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fairy Tale Culture

Fairy tales seems to be undergoing a resurgence right now -- or maybe their popularity never waned. For many of us, fairy tales were the first stories we learned and are firmly imprinted in our memory, if not our psyche. Modern authors reinterpret popular fairy tales themes in ways that make us see these comfortingly familiar stories in new ways. In my novels, I try to weave in some qualities from fairy tales: that the magical is always with us whether we want it to be or not; that it can be dark as well as light; That a whole other world exist right beside us, if we can only find the special portal that will take us there.

Kate Bernheimer is an academic in this field and the force behind the popular literary magazine Fairy Tale Review, through which I've discovered many new writers. Kate is also the editor of "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me,"an anthology of modern interpretations of fairy tales. I loved this collection so much that I gave it away copies this past Christmas. If you loved fairy tales as a child, you will not want to miss reading this collection.

One of my favorite authors in touch with the fairy tale aesthetic is Keith Donohue. His first novel, "The Stolen Child," while indebted to the Yeats' poem, is an exploration of the secret life of fairies.  His second book, "Angels of Destruction," is a beautifully constructed look at how humans persist in magical thinking. His third book, "Centuries of June," which sounds stunning, comes out on May 31st.

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