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The witch and other tales re-told

by Jean Thompson

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858256,127 (3.42)None
Presents a collection of stories that put a modern twist on classic fairy tales, depicting characters ranging from lost children who try to find their way home to adults who confront their past misdeeds.

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Interesting collection of short stories -- with the subtle disturbing undercurrent of fairy tales: Grimm and Anderson, not the Disnified versions with happy endings but the kind that explore the depths of human nature and the tenuous grip on the "real" world. Each tale stands alone and is set in modern times with cell phones, computers, etc. but typically unhappy families (and some dead mothers) like the original fairy tale paradigm. But the other connections are less obvious and it is fun to try to match up which tale Thompson is riffing on. Hansel and Gretel is one -- with the children in the care of an evil foster mother, and Cinderella is obvious from the shoe, but the key players are an interesting twist on a Prince and a overlooked maiden, and so is the matching process. The Pied Piper is downright creepy and haunting in its new rendition -- the closest of the bunch to a true fairy tale time and setting -- no modern twist needed. Thompson is masterful in her creation of settings and characters in the confines of a short story and the "tales re-told" connection is not the main point, but the clever, playful icing on the cake. Worth a read, but don't re-order your book queue. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
This review and others posted over at my blog.

I’m just going to give a few random thoughts on each story.

The Witch – A take on Hansel and Gretel. Absentee parents, but sort of by accident and a foster “mother.” I enjoyed this a lot and I liked the daughter’s POV and the open-ended ending.

Inamorata – I looked up the definition and it means a person’s female lover. This is a Cinderella story where the prince has a mental disorder/disability and Cinderella is deaf. It’s oddly cute.

Candy – Hmmm. This one was open-ended too and didn’t work for me. I wasn’t sure what message I was supposed to get. It’s a tale of reputation and cybersex and making your own terms.

Faith – A Pied Piper tale from ye olde times; dark.

Three – Mehh. This didn’t pan out for me. I don’t even know if I can sum it up. A son’s thoughts on his mother’s abandoning the family?

The Curse – This one was rough and could be triggering to some (not overly graphic but does reference rape). The horrifying part of this story is how set in reality it is. It’s a curse you can certainly understand someone making. What goes around may come around to more than just yourself.

Your Secret’s Safe With Me – A man’s latest wife gets the best of him. This one was long and the end was frantic and dream-like. I enjoyed it.

Prince – This story was unexpectedly touching and the last few lines punched me right in the feels. Not going to lie, I totally cried. A great end to the story, a touch melancholy, but still hopeful.

If Thompson wants to write more collections with the same feel (slightly magical, somewhat morbid, contemporary, magical realismy), I’ll be more than happy to buy and read them. This was just what I needed when I was in a slump.

I highly recommend this if you’re looking for:

+ A contemporary shorts collection with just a touch of magic
+ Some female-driven fiction
+ Stories that will creep you out, make you mad, and maybe even make you cry ( )
  MillieHennessy | Aug 28, 2019 |
The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told is a short story collection of reimagined fairy tales in modernized settings with a twist. Many of the stories are barely recognizable until I found a few telling points or a certain phrase came up. All of the stories were rooted in the real world, but had a creeping darkness around the edge or a sense of something not quite right. The writing conveyed a sense of knowing many different characters and being able to get into their heads.

One of my favorite was the first story, The Witch, a modern Hansel and Gretel where siblings Kerry and Jo are taken in by the Department of Children and Family Services to a foster home run by Mrs. Kojo. Outwardly, Mrs. Kojo appears perfect, for the children, however, things are different. Jo quickly picked up on how Mrs. Kojo operated and when there was an opening, she channeled her inner Gretel.

Another favorite was Prince, a very turned upside down Cinderella. In this version, Ellen has a slight and manageable mental health issue and a very controlling sister. Ellen finds a stray dog and names him Prince, Prince is very grateful for Ellen's care and he tells her that-in words. Prince was definitely the most charming story, but true to the fairy tale, the sister does not come out on top. ( )
  Mishker | Sep 27, 2017 |
I loved trying to figure out which fairy tale she was re-telling. ( )
  PrettyNerdie | Jul 24, 2015 |
This was definitely worth reading. The author's stories were both original and the characters unforgettable. Most of the stories I could figure out which Fairy tale was used as the base, there were only a couple that I did not recognize. I'm sure there are a lot of fairy tales I am unfamiliar with so not surprising.
Jean Thompson is a master storyteller. I really enjoyed the updated versions of these fairy tales. ( )
  marysneedle | Jan 1, 2015 |
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My brother and I were given over to the Department of Children and Family Services after our father and his girlfriend left us alone in the carone too many times.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Presents a collection of stories that put a modern twist on classic fairy tales, depicting characters ranging from lost children who try to find their way home to adults who confront their past misdeeds.

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