The cover blurb calls them contemporary fables and I think it goes some way to categorise this short story collection that I’m finding hard to describe. A little bit whimsical, sometimes dark and all about life, love and death , the stories are short and surreal. The title is apt, at times I felt like I was reading myself a bedtime story for grown-ups.
It starts with a story about a book with no words and a woman that makes the book hugely successful by shouting about it. I think that’s a great start myself, so many people give publicity to things when they oppose them. As the book is filled with words we meet a duck that falls in love with a rock, a house that befriends the sea, aliens and monsters, men and women. I especially liked the story about the octopus which has inspired the cover.
I think saying they are reworked versions of age old stories is doing the collection a disservice, but my brain made connections to The Ugly Ducking, The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes among others, enough to feel that Loory was inspired by them.
I suppose this is one of those books you’re either going to love or hate. It brought a smile to my face and I was reluctant to put it down so it’s safe to say I loved it. I’m sure there’s lots of analysis that could be done but I’m going to leave it at that!
Thanks to Penguin for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley. Unfortunately, the book won’t be out in the UK in paperback until November but is available now in ebook formats and in paper via Penguin USA.