By Michael Cunningham
Fairy stories for our instances from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of The Hours
A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the facility to alter destiny; a woman whose terribly lengthy hair motives disaster; a guy with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a home deep within the woodland, built of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and different stories, the folks and the talismans of lands a ways, a long way away―the mythic figures of our childhoods and the resource of a lot of our wonder―are reworked via Michael Cunningham into tales of chic revelation.
Here are the moments that our fairy stories forgot or intentionally hid: the years after a spell is damaged, the rapturous quick of a miracle all at once learned, or the destiny of a prince simply part cured of a curse. The Beast stands sooner than you in line on the comfort shop, procuring smokes and a slender Jim, his devouring smile aimed toward the cashier. A malformed little guy with a knack for minor acts of wizardry is going to disastrous lengths to obtain a baby. A loutish and lazy Jack prefers residing in his mother's basement to getting a task, till the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans.
Reimagined by means of probably the most proficient storytellers of his iteration, and exquisitely illustrated via Yuko Shimizu, not often have our bedtime tales been this darkish, this perverse, or this real.
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Extra resources for A Wild Swan: And Other Tales
He prayed not. For he was drowning. Adrift in darkness, hemmed in by walls of numbing cold. Then suddenly his body was afire. When darkness threatened to close in all around him, he did not resist. But then came another voice. This one was different. Melodious and dulcet and honeyed. The voice of a woman. The hands of a woman, drifting over him, small and soft, blessedly cool. Lips, warm upon his, flowering open upon his. She was the one he clung to. Those hands. That voice. The only light in a void of endless black.
Her mind vaulted forward. He could not chew or 40 / Samantha James eat in his present state. But if he could but drink, perhaps later he might take the broth from the soup she had last eaten and thus gain strength. Slipping an arm beneath his shoulder, she lifted his head and held the goblet to his lips. His head rested in the palm of her hand; lord, but it was heavy! “Drink, Gareth,” she said softly. ” Carefully she eased the goblet forward. He made a strangled, choking sound and began to cough.
Ah, she mused once, but what if his name was Edwyn in truth? “I daresay you are a hunter, like my father. Oh, but my father was a great hunter,” she recalled wistfully. “Many a day found him hunting with his gyrfalcon. When we could not find him we had only to look in the mews. ” Her smile faltered. Clifton. Pain lanced through her heart, bled deeper. Would she ever find Clifton? Where was he? Where? Was he safe? Oh, if only she knew! But nay. She’d not succumb to despair. Papa was dead. But Clifton was still alive.
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham