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The Monkey's Wedding and Other Stories

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3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Praise for Joan Aiken:

"Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come."--Philip Pullman

"Aiken writes with the genius of a born storyteller, with mother wit expanded and embellished by civilized learning, and with th
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ebook, 300 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Small Beer Press (first published April 19th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 478)
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Early on in this collection, we encounter a young Polish officer who chases the devil out his bedroom with a garlic sausage and a beloved vicar whose true nature is not revealed until he is reincarnated as a black tom cat. Aiken throws together characters and plot elements taken from the cozy playbook of English village plot lines and does very peculiar things with them. She does not seem determined to undermine the traditional material itself, just the standard means of its presentation. At tim ...more
Hayley
Joan Aiken's boundless inventiveness and wonderful storytelling always leave my brain buzzing and whirring with delight. Her creativity is inspiring--I only wish my imagination was as fertile. Aiken writes beautifully. Her prose is flowing, intelligent, and descriptive--as always, a pleasure to read.

These stories tell of a mermaid brought back from the sea in a glass bottle, a stolen horse, a man haunted by octopi only he can see, a vicar who is reincarnated as a cat, and a village that only exi
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Andy
Offbeat and weird stories that are often sweet but occasionally feature a light tinge of horror. For the most part they are really very inventive; Joan Aiken says in an introduction that she often gets her ideas from dreams, and you can kind of see that - the boundary between the fantastic and the mundane is frequently crossed and is casually regarded in the breach, the same way that in dreams sometimes a totally bizarre incident is just normal happenstance and doesn't surprise you the dreamer o ...more
Chris
In the introduction to this posthumous collection of short stories Joan Aiken describes the three ingredients that have gone into the making of these tales: fantasy elements ("witches, dragons, castles..."), realistic elements culled from everyday life ("mending punctures, winning raffles...") and, finally, dreams ("an old lady hunting for lost things..."). Unlike her longer novels, the tales aren't planned but spring from a chance combination of two or more of these ingredients; in The Monkey's ...more
Danielle
Jan 15, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This volume of fantastical short stories includes some of her earliest works circa the 1950s right up to several stories that were previously unpublished and written after the turn of the millennium. It also features an introduction by the author, as well as one in which her daughter details Joan's life and her writing philosophies, which I really appreciated.

There are some wonderful and concise insights, such as (in no particular order):

1) Besides inspiration and a lot of sheer hard labor, a st
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Stacy
Jul 16, 2012 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into Aiken's style, but once I did, I saw she is a consummate storyteller. Great observations, too.

I think one of the reasons it took me so long to get into her writing is that she's not particularly close with her 3rd person narrative. It's not always omniscient, but it's pretty close. My favorite is 3rd person closed (or whatever it's called), where the writer is knocking around in the main character's head.

Aiken doesn't do that much here, but still her writing is,
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Sarah Goebel
Aug 19, 2011 Sarah Goebel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
incredibly exciting 2011 collection of unpublished (or published under the pseudonym of nicholas dee) stories from the author of "arabel + mortimer" and "the wolves of willoughby chase".

---> see also "a necklace of raindrops and other stories" joan aiken, 1968
Acacia Ives
this book will be reviewed on my channel soon. I loved most every story some just were not ones that stuck in my mind but for the most part really wonderful and small beer press does really amazing work!
Dan Ust
Jan 14, 2016 Dan Ust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of yarns, most of which are very entertaining. The bulk are light-heated, though a handful are harsher and even darker, such as "Hair" and "The Helper."

Some of the yarns sputter out or fail to have a strong ending, such as "The Paper Queen" and "The Magnesia Tree." They're still worth the read to enjoy Aiken's sheer inventiveness. And I'm not talking about a lack of an epiphany because epiphanies are not necessarily strong and stories without them are not necessarily weak.

My
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Joseph Lerner
Jan 07, 2015 Joseph Lerner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joan Aiken is famous as a writer of children's books. But in this early collection she demonstrates that she also mastered the art of adult fantasy short story writing. These tales are whimsical, witty, and beautifully written, models of compression and style. Also wholly original. Joan Aiken's stories are unmistakably her own, and, more than sixty years later (most were written in the early 50s), they appear as fresh as undated now as they did upon publication. Highly recommended.
Carly Kirk
Jun 04, 2016 Carly Kirk rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful short story collection. These are the type of stories I enjoy the most - engaging characters, interesting happenings, sometimes a bit of the mystical and actual endings that are satisfying. Can't wait to read more by this author!
Lostaccount
Jul 19, 2016 Lostaccount rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lostaccount by: 136
Shelves: finish-later
I hate to DNF a book, but in this instance I just had to do it - or rather, to put the book away for now. So not really a DNF, more FL (finish later) ... :) I've stopped about three quarters of the way through, because the stories are just too boring and frivolous.
Laura Cowan
Apr 15, 2013 Laura Cowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I can't find more imaginative, magical, supernatural stories like these that are also spiritual. These stories are well-written and well-told, but they follow that same path of so many stories of their kind: dark, slightly sinister, and bereft of any spiritual significance behind the supernatural elements. For what it is, it's great, but I guess I'm still looking for something more. Four stars for being exactly what it says it is and doing a good job at that, since my critique i ...more
Mark
Jul 20, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very sweet stories, well told, but a little too predictable and earnest for my taste.
Rana Ansari
Dec 12, 2015 Rana Ansari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knotty; Naughty; Nauti (cal)
Tamsen
Aug 30, 2015 Tamsen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I love short stories, but these were not for me. Aiken was somewhat creative or imaginative in places, but for the most part, these stories are formulaic and end up blending together. No short story stood out to me.
For Books' Sake
Apr 05, 2011 For Books' Sake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"From a bottled mermaid brought home from a sailor’s adventures at sea to a vicar reincarnated as a malevolent cat, fantasy is combined with magic, myth and adventure to form weird, wonderful and immersive tales."

(Excerpt from full review of The Monkey's Wedding & Other Stories at For Books' Sake)
Dave Holcomb
May 28, 2012 Dave Holcomb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun. Short, elegantly written stories, with the homely feel of folktales, but with an underlying sophistication and polish.
Cbsd library
Check out a free preview of a story from The Monkey's Wedding in our Bookslinger app!
Cheryl
Jul 06, 2016 Cheryl marked it as wishlist-to-buy  ·  review of another edition
Another Aiken short story collection?! Squee!
Linda
Mar 31, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Quirky, to put it mildly, but I did enjoy it.
First Second Books
Pure pleasure, especially the mermaid story.
Judy
Jan 21, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
Enjoyable short stories with a twist.
Darth
Sep 24, 2012 Darth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Quit after 6 chapters.
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
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