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My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me Paperback – 25 Aug 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin US; Original edition (25 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014311784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117841
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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

Winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection
"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."
-"Elle"
"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 'Pleasur

Winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology
"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."
-"Elle"
"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

"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."
-"Elle"
"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"
Witty, gruesome, eerie, funny, and . . . fresh, surprising, and vividly sharp . . . this collection offers surprises and delights at every turn. . . . The author contributor list is a huge draw: Neil Gaiman rubs shoulders with Michael Cunningham, Shelley Jackson keeps company with John Updike, and Aimee Bender shares page room with Kelly Link. "Library Journal"
"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

Bernheimer is associated with the Denver Jewish Film Festival and hosts the Boulder Public Library's annual Jewish Film Series

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.


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Format: Paperback
A brilliant anthology of brand new fairytales. As someone who has read nearly all the Windling/Datlow anthologies, I was thrilled to hear of the iminent release of 'My mother she killed me, my father he ate me', and Im gald to say i was not dissapointed. The collection spans Russia, America, England, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, France, Greece, Vietnam and japan, and includes retellings, mash ups of fairytales, and brand new ones, so you can see the kind of scope that this book deals with. However as a whole it works perfectly, transporting the reader to the realm of faery. As with all anthologies there are a couple of weaker stories, but these were very much in the minority, and if it wasn't for the fact that i was comparing them to the stories they were collected with, i may not have found them so weak. Some highlights for me include;
-The Snow Maiden, by Jonanthon Keats, a chilling tale about winter searching for a mortal love
-A day in the life of half od Rumplestiltskin by Kevin Brockmeier, an interesting look at what happened to the fairytale villain after he tore himself in two
-Catskin by kelly Link- a tale about a witch, the children she collects, cats and revenge
Teague O'Kane and the Corpse by Chris Adrian, creepy story that sent shivers up my spine, as Teague is charged with burying a dead body that keeps talking to him
The Colour Master by Aimee Bender, is I think my favourite in the collection, its about the seamstresses who made the dresses the colours of the sun, the moon and the sky for the unfortunate heroine of Perrault's Donkeyskin
The Story of the Mosquito by lily Hoang, about how the mosquito was created

These are just a few of a truly impressive collection, I would recommend it to anyone with even only a passing interest in fairytales
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Format: Paperback
Faerie, many are the sins committed in thy name. How to put this? Quite simply - the gushing style. Gregory Maguire's starter (read it now with the Look Inside facility) successfully put me off, if that counts as success. The Grimms and the rest didn't gush. What now passes for fantasy is not fairy tale, more a monstruous hybrid of scifi, romance and Victorian excess.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great compendium of odd little tales, A must-read for an Angela Carter fan!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x92761c0c) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x927757a4) out of 5 stars A Must-Have 19 Nov. 2010
By convergingnow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd been eagerly awaiting this book's publication for months, and my expectations have been greatly exceeded. These are fairy tales for grown-ups...or, I should say grown-up children. The authors and stories are diverse; there is no consistent literary style. As the editor writes: "The goal was to bring together a variety of writers...whose work had suggested 'fairy tales' to me."

Here are the writers and the fairy tales each used as inspiration:

Joy Williams, Baba Yaga
Jonathon Keats, The Snow Maiden
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Ivan Tsaevich
Alissa Nutting, The Juniper Tree
Francine Pose, Hansel and Gretel
Kevin Brockmeie, Rumpelstiltskin
Neil LaBute, Rumpelstilstskin
Shelley Jackson, The Six Swans
Joyelle McSweeney, The Bremen Town Musicians
Lydia Millet, Snow White and Rose Red
Saah Shun-Lien Bynum, The Erlking
Brian Evenson, Dapplegrim
Michael Cunningham, The Wild Swans
Kaen Joy Fowler, The Wild Swans
Rikki Ducornet, The Little Match Gil
Timothy Schaffert, The Little Mermaid
Katherine Vaz, The Little Mermaid
Karen Bennan, The Snow Queen
Lucy Corin, The Tinder Box
Ilya Kaminsky, The Teapot
Michael Martone, Jack and the Beanstalk
Kelly Link, Catskin
Chris Adrian, Teague O'Kane and the Corpse
Jim Shepard, Jump Into My Sack
Kathryn Davis, Body Without Soul
Kellie Wells, The Story of Grandmother
Sabrina Orah Mark, The Young Slave
Aimee Bender, Donkeyskin
Marjorie Sandor, The White Cat
Joyce Carol Oates, Bluebeard
John Updike, Bluebead
Rabih Alameddine, Sleeping Beauty
Stacy Richter, Cinderella
Neil Gaiman, The Odyssey
Francesca Lia Block, Cupid and Psyche
Lily Hoang, The Story of the Mosquito
Noako Awa, A Kamikakushi Tale
Hiomi Ito, Sansho the Steward
Michael Mejia, Tales from Jalisco
Kim Addonizio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Kate Bernheimer, The Oval Portrait

Don't expect the stories to stick too closely to the source material. But do expect to find some new favorite writers.

If I could have bought only one book this year, it would be collection.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9363d864) out of 5 stars Strange as the title and enchanting 18 Feb. 2011
By joyful - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales Edited by Kate Bernheimer is the book I bought myself for Christmas. You could probably tell by now that I am enchanted with fairy tale retellings and this volume is a treasure chest of the fantastic and strange, vaguely familiar stories from childhood remade. Not to mention that title - which would have made me pick up this book no matter what it was about. Lucky for me what lay inside was individually as unique as the title and accompanied with a short explanation of how they came to be written by each author.

My favorite was "Catskin," by Kelly Link, who states that although she borrowed some elements from Donkeyskin and Rapunzel, she wanted to invent her "own fairy tale" about inhabiting a skin, literally and figuratively. There are orphans, a powerful witch, and many, many cats.

"Since witches cannot have children in the usual way---their wombs are full of straw or bricks or stones, and when they give birth, they give birth to rabbits, kittens, tadpoles, houses, silk dresses,...even witches wish to be mothers---the witch had acquired her children by other nmeans: she had stolen or bought them....One girl she had grown like a cyst, upon her thigh. Other children she had made out of things in her garden, or bits of trash that the cats brought her: aluminum foil with strings of chicken fat still crusted to it, broken television sets, cardboard boxes that the neighbors had thrown out."

Another favorite is "The Mermaid in the Tree" by Timothy Schaffert, the first story I read, which was in the middle of the book. Flipping through the table of contents, the title and the incongruous image it conjured beckoned to me. A version of The Little Mermaid, the story is told through the woman the prince marries instead of the mermaid. Set in a world where mermaids are common and treated no better than laboratory animals, this one was easily the most haunting of the stories I read.

"Many mermaids washed up each year on the shore of Mudpuddle Beach, the ocean air too thick for them to breathe, slowly choking them as if they were swallowing, inch by inch, a magician's endless rope of handkerchiefs...often before they were even spotted by a fisherman or a yacht party, before they'd reach the sand castles abandoned on the beach, they'd breathe their last...."

The story with the most memorable first line is "Hansel and Gretel" by Francine Prose: "Tacked to the wall of the barn that served as Lucia de Medici's studio were 144 photographs of the artist having sex with her cat."

While there are multiple variations of the same fairy tales like The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Bluebeard, and Rumpelstilskin, I found that quite a few of the authors were surprisingly fixated on The Wild Swans: in particular, the youngest brother in the original fairy tale who does not quite fully transform back into a human, but instead is left with one swan wing.

I was introduced to some not so well known fairy tales like The Erlking, The Snow Maiden, as well as some from Mexico, Italy, and Japan.

Some stories deviated so far from the original in style and tone that they didn't quite work for me. Too stylized, too literary, and not enough magic.

Overall, however, I was delighted with this new addition to my fairy tale collection, which auspiciously enough, is dedicated to Angela Carter.

Oh, and the title comes from Alissa Nutting's retelling of The Juniper Tree, "The Brother and the Bird," and yes, it does describe exactly what happens in the plot.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9474a114) out of 5 stars Delightfully Dark 13 Feb. 2011
By MacBean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you think you're a fan of fairy tales but all you know are the watered-down, Disneyfied versions, steer clear of this book. These are real fairy tales, not magical stories with happy endings to read to your kids at bedtime. They don't flinch away from cannibalism, bestiality, incest, abuse, insanity, death, and general deviance. These modern tales don't stick very closely to the specific stories that inspired them but they DO honor the spirit of them and of fairy tales in general. I LOVE updated/modern/fractured fairy tales and I read them often but most of the time I find one or two good stories amidst a bunch of weak, sugary stuff. This is the first collection I've ever found that didn't disappoint.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By William - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me is a collection of forty fairy tales written by various authors, both well known and somewhat unknown. Each author has submitted a retelling or reimagining of classic fairytales from across the world. The editor and creator of this collection of fairytales is Kate Bernheimer. Bernheimer has been working within the fairy tale genre for some time now and is also the founder of the Fairy Tale Review. In her concise but informative introduction to the book she states that her intention and reasoning for this specific collection of fairy tales was to gather all kinds of literary writers, which she accomplished very well. Bernheimer believes that this is the perfect time for fairy tales to be celebrated and states, "This book can help us move forward as readers in a moment of insecurity about the future of books."
The collection of fairy tales includes authors such as, Aimee Bender, Neil LaBute, Joy Williams, and many more. Each of the authors has written an interpretation of a classic fairytale. The book provides a very well structured format for reading fairy tales that is easy to follow, even for fairytale newcomers. The idea for the collection as a whole is very unique and creative and each individual story seems to be better than the next. The variety of authors and style of writing found in the collection makes it truly unique and extremely creative. It gives readers a new view on classic fairy tales. For example, I found Neil LaBute's submission to be particularly entertaining and well done. His story is titled With Hair of Hand-Spun Gold and it is a reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. The story takes place in a time period after that of the original fairy tale and told as a nine page monologue by Rumpelstiltskin to what seems to be us, the reader. We are immediately thrown into the story with no pervious knowledge and are left to figure out what is going on. This is my favorite piece in the collection because of the mysterious style it is written in although all the works found in the book are equally as original and creative.
Perhaps the best aspects of this novel are the author's notes at the end of each story. After each story there is a short note from the author of the story to the reader which explains their intentions for writing their story and any other useful information they think we should know. Most of the authors include their own exposure to the fairy tale genre and why they like it. I felt this was one of the most important parts of the book because it gives the reader an inside look at what the authors of these stories think of fairy tales and why they are important to them. This allows the reader to get a better understanding of why fairy tales are essential to the literary world, as well as the film industry.
Bernheimer's collection of modern fairy tales has done exactly what the author intended. After reading the book the reader is left with a new found appreciation for the fairy tale genre regardless of their prior knowledge of fairy tales. The book does a great job of showing its readers that fairy tales can still and are still being written. It also lets the reader know that this is only a small sample of the writing that is available in the fairy tale genre and it leaves the reader wanting more. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in fairy tales or people who just want to become more familiar with them and the true stories that lie behind the Disney versions.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92775d8c) out of 5 stars A bloody mess for you, intelligent people. 28 April 2011
By MjMara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Content: "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me" has a show-stopper title that indicates the truly unusual short stories found inside. The stories are said to be "fairy tales for adults," which I think is a decent description, but to be fair, this text is much more. The stories are new interpretations of a wide variety of classic fairy tales from many different cultures. Each story is labeled with the tale that it was based off of and what country it originated in.
The book extremely worldly and assumes that its readers can keep up. For me personally, a bit of online research about the original versions of the stories were helpful, but at times was not enough for me to fully understand or make sense of the stories. I think that it's necessary to say that these fairytales are nothing like the fairytales that the general American population would probably be familiar with unless their school system introduced them. People are sometimes familiar with the Brother's Grimm stories but that's about it. These are not re-imaginings of Disney movies, but rather re-imaginings of what are mostly quite dark and ominous tales.
Reading experience: My favorite aspect of this book is that it incorporates so many different accomplished creative writers, each with their own style, and yet has them all writing toward the book as a whole. It's as if the editor, Kate Bernheimer, called each one of them individually and told them to write without restraint and they agreed. As a result, you get difficult, at times humorous, grotesque, and eerie texts. The difficulty, for me, stems from writers combining realistic and fabulistic elements which constantly threw me off because I have some trouble embracing such outlandish ideas as real story elements. I assume that not all readers will have such a problem.
Read If: Fiction or short fiction is your thing. Fairy tales are your thing. You'd like to improve your knowledge of fairy tales. You hate the way Disney pours sugar all over the morbid stories. You want something weird to read while you're in the bathroom. You're looking for inspiration for your own fiction.
Skip If: Creative non-fiction is your thing. You don't have much interest or background with fairy tales. You love Disney movies.
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