I have long loved fractured fairy tales, retellings of classic stories from a new point of view or with a twist, and I have long loved Jane Yolen. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review her latest short story collection How to Fracture a Fairy Tale.
Fantasy icon Jane Yolen, adored by generations of readers of all ages, returns with this inspired collection of wholly-transformed fairy-tales, legends, and myths.
Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets: a philosophical bridge who misses its troll; spinner of straw as a falsely-accused moneylender, the villainous wolf poorly adjusting to retirement. Each offering features an intimate new author note and poem, allowing readers to discover stories old, new, and beautifully refined for the complicated world in which we live.
How to Fracture a Fairy Tale is part writer’s advice manual, part poetry and part prose. For each fairytale she fractures, Yolen includes an accompanying poem and notes about how she approached fracturing that particular tale. I really loved most of them but my favorite was easily “The Bridge’s Complaint” – a take on the Three Billy Goats Gruff from the point of view of the bridge. Some of the stories are light while some are dark and cruel. There’s a wide variety of subject matter, from Jewish money lenders to bridges and girls in the WWII era.
While all of the tales are reprints, it’s nice to have them collected in a single volume. My one complaint about the book is its organization. The stories are presented with no commentary until the end of the book where the commentary and poem to accompany each story are segregated. I would have much preferred that the commentary and poem be situated next to the short story because by the time I’ve gotten all the way through the short stories to the commentary and poetry, I have to remember what each story is about which is jarring.
Overall, How to Fracture a Fairytale is a wonderful collection of twisted fairy tales, perfect for any fan of Jane Yolen or folk lore.
How to Fracture a Fairytale is on shelves now.
Thank you to Tachyon Publications for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.