Published September 2010 by Coffee House Press
Source: bought this one three years ago when I was deep into reading fairy tales
In Kate Bernheimer's familiar and spare—yet wondrous—world, an exotic dancer builds her own cage, a wife tends a secret basement menagerie, a fishmonger's daughter befriends a tulip bulb, and sisters explore cycles of love and violence by reenacting scenes from Star Wars.
Ti, of Book Chatter, starts her book reviews with "The Short of It." If I were to do that, this review would open like this:
The Short of It:This tiny book (just 6" x 7 1/2") is just 185 pages. Many of them look like this:
Dark, modern fairy tales that made me think.
Which makes writing the second piece of Ti's usual reviews, The Long Of It, tough. There's not a lot here, word count-wise. On the other hand, I really liked the way the stories were printed. It lent a break in the reading that enhanced the stories.
The eight tales in the book are odd, to say the least. All are about girls or young women and some have a Jewish element which makes them unique among fairy tales. But, like traditional fairy tales, the men in these tales tend to be the oppressors and there are no lessons to be learned. Unless the lesson you take from A Cageling Tale is to make sure that you never let your daughter have a parakeet lest she one day become an exotic dancer in a cage and eventually builds a cage for herself in a spare room.
I told you they were odd. But also utterly unique and original and the perfect way to break up my other reading and to spark my fairy tale reading again.