The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told
By Jean Thompson
Paperback, 256 pages
“Great fairy tales are not always stories designed for children,” says the back of the book. This is a shorts collection of retellings for adults, some familiar to me, some not, and one I quite enjoyed.
As is my usual style, 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