Synopses & Reviews
Fifty leading writers retell myths from around the world in this dazzling follow-up to the bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.
Icarus flies once more. Aztec jaguar gods again stalk the earth. An American soldier designs a new kind of Trojan horse his cremains in a bullet. Here, in beguiling guise, are your favorite mythological figures alongside characters from Indian, Punjabi, Inuit, and other traditions.
Aimee Bender retells the myth of the Titans.
Madeline Miller retells the myth of Galatea.
Kevin Wilson retells the myth of Phaeton, from Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Emma Straub and Peter Straub retell the myth of Persephone.
Heidi Julavits retells the myth of Orpheus and Euridice.
Ron Currie, Jr. retells the myth of Dedalus.
Maile Meloy retells the myth of Demeter.
Zachary Mason retells the myth of Narcissus.
Joy Williams retells the myth of Argos, Odysseus' dog.
If xo” signals a goodbye, then xo Orpheus is a goodbye to an old way of mythmaking. Featuring talkative goats, a cat lady, a bird woman, a beer-drinking ogre, a squid who falls in love with the sun, and a girl who gives birth to cubs, here are extravagantly imagined, bracingly contemporary stories, heralding a new beginning for one of the world's oldest literary traditions.
"Spooky, shocking, and surreal narrative tricks and treats [in] forty spanking- new stories inspired by classic folktales from around the world are showcased in [this] lavish anthology."
"The shiveringly titled My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me proves that the fairy tale can still mutate into new, chilling, often humorous forms... There are many surprising plums in this pie... A fine example...is Aimee Bender's 'The Color Master.'...Kevin Brockmeier's 'A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin' is a grotesque, witty, and melancholy guess into what life must be like for the Rumpelstiltskin... The best story here is an old one by John Updike... Another triumph of realism is Francine Prose's 'Hansel and Gretel.'... Chris Adrian's retelling of the Irish story 'Teague O'Kane and the Corpse' is a gruesome romp. Karen Joy Fowler's 'Halfway People' is eerie and stirring. Jim Shepard's 'Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay' is challengingly complex. And the haunting 'First Day of Snow' by Naoko Awa is a fairy tale that makes you feel like a child again."
-The Boston Globe
"The fairy tale is not dead. This wonderful collection brings together some of our best contemporary writers and some of our most beloved (and even feared) old stories. Rumplestiltskin, Bluebeard, the Earl-King, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White-all come alive again in vivid and colloquial prose. This is a book of brilliant dreams and dazzling nightmares: perfect fare for imaginative readers of any age."
-Seth Lerer, author of Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter and dean of arts and humanities at the University of California, San Diego
"I cannot remember a time I had more fun reading a book! Many of these contemporary tales rival the originals in creepiness, joy, and impact."
-Darcey Steinke, author of Easter Everywhere
"Let's open the door to the green room and peek to see who is waiting. A bevy of beauties . . . an evanescence of sprites . . . an abundance of adversaries . . . a passel of princes . . . Maybe we should have brought that bubbly; but there's something being served here more deeply inebriating than champagne. Hush."
-Gregory Maguire, from the Foreword
About the Author
Kate Bernheimer is the editor of the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales and the founder and editor of the literary journal Fairy Tale Review. Author of the story collections Horse, Flower, Bird and How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales, among many other books, she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona.