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Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand
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Errantry: Strange Stories (edition 2012)

by Elizabeth Hand

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11315106,831 (3.85)21
Member:kmaziarz
Title:Errantry: Strange Stories
Authors:Elizabeth Hand
Info:Small Beer Press (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:read in 2012, short stories, strange stories, magical realism, dark fantasy, mythology

Work details

Errantry : strange stories by Elizabeth Hand

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  1. 00
    Stranger Things Happen: Stories by Kelly Link (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: Kelly Link is the co-founder of Small Beer Press, the publisher of Errantry.
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Lovely prose. The least successful of the stories was the Vancean pastiche, but it was kind of fun anyway. Nobody evokes scenery and landscape like Elizabeth Hand. ( )
  anglemark | Dec 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As many other reviewers have mentioned these stories have a strong theme of sadness and regret. It took me longer to work my way through this book because of the not happy theme, and the stories were weird, but I found myself setting the book down for a few days and then picking it back up again to see where the next story would take me.
  m4marya | Jun 25, 2013 |
These stories are, in fact, strange. I picked this book up at the local library from the New Book shelf and because I am participating in the Short Story group on LT. I was glad that I did. It was a rather quick read, but very enjoyable. Not quite Science Fiction, in fact, I think a Science Fiction fan would say not even close, but since I am not very well acquainted with SciFi, I wouldn't really know. The thing is, Elizabeth Hand seems to know a lot about Science and uses that knowledge in this collection. In thinking about it as I write this review, I guess it is more Fantasy than SciFi. Whatever the concoction is, it works. Each story is full of a sense of wonder as the author creates a world that is not quite ordinary, and sometimes quite fantastic. Her descriptions of setting is crucial. When the reader is brought into any setting that takes place in nature, it is there the writing shines. It is evident that Hand is not only familiar with botany but loves the natural world and sees a connection between it and whatever her characters face. In "Near Zennor" the setting plays a huge part in the story, as a man travels through terrain his deceased wife had enjoyed as a child. She and her friends created a fantastical world on the moors near her uncle's farmhouse in England, based on a series of books written by a local author. There, they have a strange, other-worldly experience, and he sets out to see the landscape for himself. Need I say more? Her relationship with nature is never more evident than in "Winter's Wife", the story of a decent country man who brings home a young wife from Iceland. A young boy tells us of Winter, his mother's best friend, a man so well-liked that everybody considered him their friend. His new wife is kind, also, if a bit strange. But we don't find out how strange until the 300 year old trees that Winter loves and can view from the balcony of the new house he is building for his wife, are threatened. A long story, it was one of my favorites. "The Return of The Fire Witch" is the story that makes me think this collection is more fantasy than Science Fiction. This story is unadulterated fantasy, and wonderful in the way that it tells the reader about things completely foreign and unfamiliar but somehow understood in the context of the story. I find Fantasy to be similar to a drawing or painting of vivid colors. As I read Fantasy, I find a colorful and complex picture in my mind. The final story in the collection is the kind of story that leaves you thinking about it long after you are done reading. Try this book. I promise it will not disappoint. A veteran writer, Elizabeth Hand is an author I will continue to seek out for future reading pleasure. ( )
  mmignano11 | Mar 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Errantry, subtitled Strange Stories, is indeed what you could call a compilation of the just plain weird.. I've been wanting to read Hand's work for awhile so I was happy to snatch this one up. Unfortunately, this collection of short tales fell a bit flat for me.

It doesn't help that the first story in the collection, "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon", was extremely difficult to get through. I felt little for the characters, although the writing style itself was quite lovely. The lack of sympathy/ empathy I felt for these individuals was probably my biggest problem with the collection, which is odd because it seems Hand was aiming for reflective characters and odd, awesome beauty.

Not every story was a bust, though. "Winter's Wife" was one of my favorites, a fascinating tale about the cost of "progress", the importance of history and nature, and the seeming paradox of dangerous beauty. "Uncle Lou" and "Hungerford Bridge" were both haunting stories with themes of otherworldly oddities and the depth of emotions that both natural and supernatural can evoke. "Near Zennor" was perhaps the only true horror story in the compilation, and there were a few moments of adrenaline on my part while reading it.

Overall, this is a mixed bag, as short assortments like this often are. Hand seems to have a bit of a cult following, and judging by the descriptions of her other work, this seems to fit right in. If you're a Hand fan, or even a fan of the Clockwork Phoenix collections, go for it. It will certainly take you to some interesting places. Just don't expect it to be the most mind-blowing stuff you've ever read. ( )
  rebelaessedai | Mar 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Strange stories indeed. Some plain strange, some melancholy, some, well some didn't quite work for me, but that's often what happens with collections of short stories. I really enjoyed "Near Zennor" but I also felt it could be expanded into something more, that there was something just beyond reach that I wanted more of. Although perhaps that was Hand's intent--with her, you can never quite tell and that's one of the reasons I really enjoy her work. I also very much liked "The Far Shore" and how I thought I knew what it was going to be and I was sure it was a retelling of a particular fairy tale but ended up as something rather different. "Winter's Wife" was far and away my favorite though. If you like strange stories, definitely pick this one up. ( )
  PirateJenny | Feb 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Perhaps because it represents a body of work over a relatively short period of time, there are some clear tonal and thematic similarities on display. With one exception, the stories in Errantry are very much of a piece: low-key tales of the fantastical lurking on the edges of the everyday, of marginal or (self-)marginalized figures .. withdrawing from conventional ways of seeing the world, and experiencing moments of transcendent shock.
added by karenb | editStrange Horizons, Nic Clarke (May 29, 2013)
 
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Table of Contents:

The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Near Zennor
Hungerford Bridge
The Far Shore
Winter’s Wife
Cruel Up North
Summerteeth
The Return of the Fire Witch
Uncle Lou
Errantry
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Table of Contents:

The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Near Zennor
Hungerford Bridge
The Far Shore
Winter’s Wife
Cruel Up North
Summerteeth
The Return of the Fire Witch
Uncle Lou
Errantry
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Collects short works exploring the macabre in everyday life and features a host of less-than-innocent characters including mysterious next-door neighbors and an eccentric man in an adjoining cubicle.

(summary from another edition)

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