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Yuko Shimizu Goodreads Author Illustrator. Fairy tales for our times from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours. A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away, the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation.

Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed: the years after a spell is broken, the rapturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly realized, or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse. The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child.

A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother's basement to getting a job, until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans. Re-imagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, and exquisitely illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, rarely have our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true.

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published November 10th by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Wild Swan , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.


Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 04, Elyse Walters rated it it was amazing. Most avid readers have a few authors they feel zealous about What's going on with these voracious bookworms? I suspect these type of bookworms are not Hollywood star struck in any shape or form..


I'll say up front, Michael Cunningham, born the same year as me, shares the same birthdate with my younger daughter, Ali, There is a great chance that fans of Michael Cunningham's novels, will be disappointed not to have another Cunningham-novel-masterpiece to read. This small collection of altered fairy tales - for adults -was written with the same gorgeous prose as his novels.

I looked to see if these short stories had the psychological-punch The answer: yes! Emotions felt!! Elevated thinking.

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Were you a fan of Rumpelstilskin as a child? Jack and the Beanstock? If yes.. Michael Cunningham's gives us a fresh look at these old tales This is the 2nd re-telling I've read recently Curtis Sittenfeld wrote "Eligible", a retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" A fairy tale for the grown-up mind with a childlike spirit. The illustrations by Yuko Shimizo are marvelous! View all 16 comments.

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Not the usual type of book I read but am willing to try anything written by this author. To my surprise I enjoyed it very much. Taking many of our beloved fairytale and giving them a very inventive modern twist was pure entertainment. Many were extremely amusing, so very clever. Still very entertaining, a quick read that was more Not the usual type of book I read but am willing to try anything written by this author.

Still very entertaining, a quick read that was more than worth my time. View all 4 comments. Jan 14, Althea Ann rated it liked it. Fairy tale retellings are one of my 'things,' so I had to pick this up when I came across it on the library shelf. I haven't read anything else by this Pulitzer Prize-winning author, so I can't compare this to his other writings.

The stories collected here are very consistent in 'feel' throughout. Each takes a fairy tale or other well-known tale , and injects it with a dash of the modern-day without wholly removing its more 'classic' elements , and twists the story a bit in order to accentuate Fairy tale retellings are one of my 'things,' so I had to pick this up when I came across it on the library shelf. Each takes a fairy tale or other well-known tale , and injects it with a dash of the modern-day without wholly removing its more 'classic' elements , and twists the story a bit in order to accentuate the ironic, and perhaps make a bitter comment on humanity.

There aren't a lot of happy endings to be found here. This very brief piece on the theme of 'ordinary' people being resentful and jealous of the 'extraordinary' sets the tone of the book very well. If you like this piece, I'd recommend continuing. If you don't - the book might not be for you. But the author focuses on what happened to the one brother who was left with a swan's wing; transposing him in his trauma from the fantasy castle to a contemporary setting of bars full of alcoholic, depressed victims of curses.

Crazy Old Lady Based on: Hansel and Gretel The woman who focused on sex and good times while all her friends were getting married and settling down always dreamed of being a 'Mrs. Robinson'-style cougar in her later years. To her dismay, as she ages, she realized the boys just aren't interested. A bit unhinged, she decides to build a candy-and-gingerbread cottage.

What eventually happens mirrors what happened to the witch in Hansel and Gretel a bit more closely than she expected.

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But the kids who visit her are no innocents. Jacked Based on: Jack and the Beanstalk Here, the classic story is infused with plenty of authorial commentary on topics such as how very foolish it is to entrust your last cow to an 'imbecilic son' who'd trade it to a stranger for a handful of beans. It also comments on the very questionable morality of everything Jack does, although his burglaries and thefts certainly allow he and his mother to buy private planes, remote island, and limited edition Murakami Louis Vuitton handbags.

A Monkey's Paw Based on: the W. Jacobs story, of course. The twist is: What if they didn't use the third wish to send away the rotted corpse of their son? What if they invited him back anyways? The story becomes a disturbing digression on the erosion of happiness.

Little Man Based on: Rumplestiltskin I've read other positive representations of the titular ugly 'little man' of the Rumplestiltskin story. Here, he is consumed by the desire to have a child: to be a good father and to pass on his knowledge to a new generation.

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The Wild Swan Trilogy by Celeste De Blasis

His efforts to help a hapless girl spin straw into gold are motivated largely by kindness. But we all know what happens to a dream deferred Steadfast, Tin Based on: Hans Christian Andersen's Steadfast Tin Soldier A modern relationship is depicted here, which may mirror the tragic fairy tale in certain respects. At least, the woman in the relationship seems to think it does; and her daughter explicitly thinks that her mother used telling her the story as a way to try to explain her parents' relationship. The story rather deftly questions the concept of destiny and true love, as it describes a troubled - but eventually 'steadfast' - marriage.

Beasts Based on: Beauty and the Beast Ooh, this was a twist on the story that I hadn't ever actually seen before. And I've read a LOT of takes on this story. I thought it worked really well, too.

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I might even say it was Angela Carter-worthy. Here, many events proceed as expected, with the additional information that Beauty herself might've been less meek and selfless, and more hopeless and frustrated than we thought. She professes her love for the Beast and breaks the spell Her Hair Based on Rapunzel Beginning where the story usually ends, this shows us a blind man at the fulfillment of his long and arduous quest to find his love. The short piece quickly becomes a metaphor about how we all sometimes hide certain things in relationships, to keep others happy.

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Note: The illustrations here, by Yuko Shimizu, are exquisite. Simple, stark black-and-white, like something from a less-perverse Aubrey Beardsley.

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I couldn't help feeling like they belonged to a less earthy, more transcendent collection of fairy tales, though. View 1 comment. Dec 25, Melki rated it really liked it Shelves: folk-fairy-tales , short-story-collections.