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 ability to alter destiny; a woman whose terribly lengthy hair explanations disaster; a guy with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a home deep within the wooded area, developed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and different stories, the folk and the talismans of lands some distance, a long way away―the mythic figures of our childhoods and the resource of quite a bit of our wonder―are remodeled through Michael Cunningham into tales of elegant revelation.
Here are the moments that our fairy stories forgot or intentionally hid: the years after a spell is damaged, the rapturous rapid of a miracle suddenly learned, or the destiny of a prince basically part cured of a curse. The Beast stands sooner than you in line on the comfort shop, procuring smokes and a narrow 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 toddler. 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 way of essentially the most talented storytellers of his iteration, and exquisitely illustrated by way of Yuko Shimizu, hardly ever have our bedtime tales been this darkish, this perverse, or this precise.
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Additional resources for A Wild Swan: And Other Tales
But have they really arrived in Holland? Or did the boat go awry in the storm? Have they come instead to a place of bewitchment? Perhaps it only looks like Holland, and that’s why the grandfather who was to take care of them is not in his house. Don’t be fanciful, says Margarethe’s voice in Iris’s mind. But Iris can’t help it. The mysteries of this place! Whatever could the Girl-Boy of Rotterdam have been? Or Dame Donkey-Jaw? Or what about the changeling child? If this is no longer England, perhaps it’s not Holland either.
He grins saucily. “She’s a hidden child to Haarlem’s prying eyes, so few can prove it or deny it. But the rumor mongers would have it so. ” “You talk with too much freedom of your Master’s concerns,” says Margarethe stiffly. Caspar laughs. “I’m serious,” she goes on. ” “Youth,” says Caspar, pointing a finger at himself. Margarethe purses her lips. ” They are a match for each other, Caspar and Margarethe. Iris is amazed. “Come,” says Caspar. He leaps up and tugs Iris’s hand. ” cries Margarethe.
In this studio you’ve painted God and His companions,” says Caspar, “and in the next room you’ve portrayed the degenerate. Your two obsessions. ” He nods at Iris and at the canvas Iris can’t look at. qxd T H E O 2/12/2003 B S C U R E C 8:39 AM Page 47 H I L D He’s needling the Master, though Iris hasn’t the wit to work out how. The Master says, “God preserve me! ” He snatches a stout cloak from a peg. “I’m locked here with curs and idiots,” he says, “while the babble of children and a foolish housewife poisons the air.
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham