The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet is a zine run by Kelly Link and her husband Gavin Grant. I am a big fan of Link's work and since they took 10 years of stories, poems, odds and ends about literature, movies, and just about everything else you can think of from this zine and made a book, I had to purchase it. First there is the introduction which is too good to miss and then...
The first story is by Link "Travels with the Snow Queen" which has become quite famous on its own. This is followed by Grant's "Scotch, an essay into a drink." This one actually has a couple of drink recipes in it. The book is 387 pages long; therefore, I won't be able to give a review of everything so I'll try to hit the highlights.
"Pretending" by Ray Vukcevich is the story of a set of old friends who meet up at the holidays at a different place every year and this particular year they meet in a missile silo. The silo belonged to a family who had attempted to turn it into a home but gave up and now rented it out. The group decides while they are there, they will call on ghosts. It turns out to be a wonderful and scary story.
"The Wolf's Story" is a poem written by Nan Fry which will make you cry.
Sarah Monette wrote "Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" and it was one of my favorite stories of the collection. It's a fairy tale for adults about a woman named Violet who is enchanged by the fairy queen when she is young and how that and letters from her carry over into her adult life and her marriage. I've read it several times.
"Bay" by David Erik Nelson is the strange story of one man's encounter with a guy at a bar who insists he listen to a story of a haunted dog. The ending is unsettling and left me thinking about it for days afterward.
"Happier Days" by Jan Lars Jensen is about a class reunion which has chosen the theme of Happy Days. I saw another reviewer state "it read like an Outer Limits show" and I have to agree.
Karen Russell wrote the short story "Help Wanted" which I found endlessly fascinating but I'm not sure it is for everyone. It's certainly different even for this book. It opens with a Mer-girl who is having a dream and her husband tells her to "quit thrashing around" because it's keeping him awake. The story reveals other females who are as unique as Mer-girl all seeking a job just right for them. A very quirky and delightful read.
"The Red Phone" by John Kessel is the story of a very strange conversation between two people who can only talk to each other through intermediaries. I loved it as it is quite unusual and one of the strangest phone conversations ever thought of.
"The Well Dressed Wolf" by Lawrence Schimel is a hoot! It even comes complete with illustrations done by Sara Rojo. The subtitle is "A rhetorical journey through his wardrobe in fairy tales" which pretty much explains what you are going to get from this reading. It talks about the wolf cross-dressing as a way to establish his individuality instead of just being part of the pack. Well you get the idea, you have to read it to really enjoy it.
There are so many funny, thoughtful, and strange things in this book, it would take another book just to describe them all. If you love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Slipstream, etc., this is a wonderful collaboration of some brilliant writers. I had a great time reading them all!