Monday, March 15, 2010

A Little Sympathy For Villains

I like fairy tales.
If you've seen my work, you probably already guessed that.
I like the fairy tales that I read as a child and I also love new fiction that takes those old stories and breathes new life into them.
Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are the editors of a seemingly endless collection of short stories from wonderful writers. The best are the ones that take fairy tales and folk tales and turn them on their head.
Such is the case with Troll's Eye View, A Book Of Villainous Tales. In it, each story examines a fairy tale from the villain's point of view. Suddenly the lines delineating who is the real hero and who is the real villain are blurred.
Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers by Peter S. Beagle tells the story of Jack and the beanstalk from the giant's wife's perspective.
Troll by Jane Yolen gives a sympathetic view of the troll from The Three Billy Goats Gruff
But my favorite is A Delicate Architecture by Catherynne M. Valente. I won't explain it because it would give too much a way but here is just one lovely excerpt.
My breakfast plate was clear, hard butterscotch, full of oven bubbles. I ate my soft-boiled marzipan egg gingerly, tapping its little cap with a toffee hammer. The yolk within was lemony syrup that dribbled onto my egg cup. I drank chocolate from a black vanilla-bean mug.

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