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In The Forest Of Forgetting by Theodora Goss
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In The Forest Of Forgetting

by Theodora Goss

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is the kind of mythopoeic fiction I like. A collection of quite short stories, but they pack a lot in to their brief length.

"The Rose in Twelve Petals"
A fractured retelling of 'Sleeping Beauty' (or, 'Briar Rose'), in a dozen brief vignettes, set in a more concrete version of Europe than the usual fairy-tale fare.

"Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold"
A not-very-successful professor and a French poet, both with hidden talents, are summoned by a mysterious figure to an interstitial place-between-the-worlds, and offered a choice. Why does the professor make the choice he does? I'm still not sure.

"The Rapid Advance of Sorrow"
A poetic, surreal piece on the theme of trying to have a relationship with a revolutionary.

"Lily, With Clouds"
Two sisters, long estranged. One conventional, the other the lover of artists. The latter's terminal cancer brings them back together one last time. Closure or understanding may not be possible, but the meeting will leave its mark.

"Miss Emily Gray"
Emily Gray features in several of Goss' stories - and I want more of her! I LOVE this morally ambiguous Mary Poppins figure who, here, shows up as a young girl's governess - and grants wishes in a quite unexpected way.

"In the Forest of Forgetting"
This title story is actually probably my least favorite piece in the book. A fairy-tale allegory that is explicitly about a woman dying of cancer; I felt it would've been more effective if it were more subtle.

"Sleeping With Bears"
Another allegory, which compares men to bears - but this one is done with a deft touch, and wry humor.

"Letters from Budapest"
A spooky and lovely Hungarian vampire story about an undead artist who suck talented young men dry. Reminded me a bit of Tanith Lee.

"The Wings of Meister Wilhelm"
One of the more powerful pieces I've read about the tragedy of European anti-semitism, and a beautiful story of a young girl, her violin instructor, and his impossible dream.

"Conrad"
Another Emily Gray story! Here, as a nurse, she's a powerful if mysterious advocate for a young boy whose own family is trying to poison him.

"A Statement in the Case"
The 'case' is question is the possible arson of a pharmacy - and the witness in question admits that he was drunk and that he might not have seen exactly what he believes that he saw.

"Death Comes for Ervina"
An elderly former ballerina receives a visit from an old lover, and reminisces about her complicated past.

"The Belt"
"I will tell you... that every fairy tale has a moral. The moral of my story may be that love is a constraint, as strong as any belt. And this is certainly true, which makes it a good moral. Or it may be that we are all constrained in some way, either in our bodies, or in our hearts and minds... Or perhaps my moral is that a desire for freedom is stronger than love or pity. That is a wicked moral, or so the Church has taught us. But I do not know which moral is the correct one. And that is also the way of a fairy story." (And that is why I have realized that I love Theodora Goss.)

"Phalaenopsis"
A truly creepy and horrific story about a monastery where all the monks are blind. Or maybe it is an inspiring and uplifting story of spiritual triumph. I'm picking the former, but others will probably think the latter.

"Pip and the Fairies"
'Pip''s mother featured her as the title character in a series of books for children, which have made her a kind of minor celebrity, as the books have achieved a classic fame. But, thinking back, she wonders if the stories that she told her mother about her adventures with the magical folk were true...

"Lessons With Miss Gray"
Yay! Emily Gray again! Here, she offers three girls lessons in witchcraft. It's their obsession, for a summer... ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
"Letters from Budapest" y "The Rose in Twelve Petals" mis favoritos. ( )
  cuentosalgernon | Nov 17, 2015 |
Pip and the Fairies is the standout and I'd keep the collection for that alone. Goss's rep seems to be that she's slipstream, but on the whole these are pretty traditionally-structured stories, though more European than N American in feel. There's a certain detachment, even in the first-person narratives, and a studied beauty of language that I associate with work in translation.
  bmlg | May 25, 2012 |
I was really looking forward to reading this series of short stories by Theodora Goss. It ended up being a wonderful collection of stories; most of them are dark and have a European fairy tale feel to them. Many of the stories are incredibly ironic and a bit ambiguous.

I am not even sure how to start describing these stories individually. The story "The Belt" tells a tale of a wife who learns what happens to her husband when she removes the belt he uses to restrain her. There is the story "Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold" where a professor is given a choice: he can go into the magical unknown or return to his weary life...but he only gets one chance to make the choice. In "Letters From Budapest" a man receives mysterious letters from his brother telling of his descent into the art culture of Budapest and ultimately his demise via magical means. A reoccurring figure throughout is Miss Grey a witch of sorts who shows up in one story as a nanny, in another as a teacher of magic. All the stories are interesting in their own right and I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite.

Goss's writing is dark, descriptive, atmospheric, magical, and at times a bit vague. Many times the reader is left to determine exactly what has happened, the stories are a bit ambiguous and are not spelled out for the reader. Most of the stories have a very fairy tale like vibe to them. I mean Grimm Brothers type fairy tales...a lot of the stories also have an Old World or European feel to them as well.

The writing is very descriptive and some of the earlier stories felt a bit disjointed, so it took me a couple stories to really get into Goss's writing style. Once I did thought I found the book very hard to put down and was eager to see what wonders the next story held for me.

Overall a wonderful collection of dark fairy tale like stories, a wonderful writer. If you like dark fairy tales or stories with an old world feel to them this is the book for you. The writing style reminds some of Catherynne Valente or Elizabeth Hand; intelligently written, beautiful, and a bit vague (not everything is spelled out for the reader). I liked it a lot and will be keeping an eye out for future works from Goss. Definitely for adults only. ( )
3 vote krau0098 | Dec 23, 2010 |
In The Forest Of Forgetting by Theodora Goss (2007) ( )
  krisiti | Jul 1, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080955741X, Paperback)

In the Forest of Forgetting showcases such stories as "The Rose in Twelve Petals," "The Rapid Advance of Sorrow," "Lily, With Clouds," "In the Forest of Forgetting," "Sleeping With Bears" and many more, with an introduction by Terri Windling and cover by Virginia Lee.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:28 -0400)

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