PurplyCookie's Reviews > The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest

The Green Man by Terri Windling
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Apr 24, 09

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bookshelves: fantasy, short-stories, mythic-fiction
Read in May, 2008

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have paid true homage to the spirit of the Green Man in this anthology: "In this book, we've asked the writers to journey deep into the Mythic Forest, to bring back tales of those wild lands, and of the creatures who dwell within them. Thus in these pages you'll find witches, wolves, dryads, deer men, a faery or two, and numerous magical spirits of nature..."


This anthology of the spirit who symbolizes nature includes stories by:

Gaiman, Neil: "Going Wodwo" (poem) >> Of what would be and what it would feel like becoming a Green Man yourself. "I'll tell the wind my name, and no one else.// True madness takes or leaves us in the wood halfway through our lives."

Sherman, Delia: "Grand Central Park" >> The first-person protagonist is a young overweight "sensitive geek" girl who encounters the Queen of the Fairies in New York City. She must play Truth or Dare if she wants to escape with her life.

Cadnum, Michael: "Daphne" >> Narrates Ovid's tale of Apollo's attempted seduction on the daughter of a river god.

de Lint, Charles: "Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting Box" >> The first truly engaging story in the book wherein the protagonist must make a choice: should she stay in this magical world or venture beyond where you don't need to paint beauty since it already exists there in its most perfect form?

Lee, Tanith: "Among the Leaves So Green" >> Two half-sisters, Bergette and Ghilane, are the unloved daughters of the village prostitute by two different woodcutters, conceived in the forest bordering their village and often sent back to the forest itself that their mother secretly hopes to be rid of them. Unusual twist when it is the hateful older sister who is the focus rather than the decent younger sister.

Yolen, Jane: "Song of the Cailleach Bheur" (poem) >> "A single word from her icy lips; A single kiss is killing."

McKillip, Patricia A.: "Hunter's Moon" >> Dawn and her little brother Ewan, lost in the woods during deer-hunting season, and are taught a lesson by him who's a "Hunter." A hit-it-close-to-home moral lesson entwined in the story.

Snyder, Midori: "Charlie's Away" >> The story is chillingly beautiful and sad. The imagery is wonderful, as Charlie escapes childhood guilt into a fantastical treetop world, and should be especially poignant to those who remember the anxieties of first leaving home.

Vaz, Katherine: "A World Painted by Birds" >> The General ruling Rio Seco condemns those who defy him to a detention camp on the far side of the forest-- though not the young lace maker Lucia--since the General's Wife has a weakness for lace. When Lucia falls in love with a young violinist who has played songs protesting the General's tyranny, the lovers flee into the forest and join the Gardener. Exemplifies the power of love told in the traditional fairy tale way.

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki: "Grounded" >> Tale relates a divorcee mother, Meg and her daughter Fiona's first face-to-face meeting with Vernon (who has the power to bring life to plants) and his kids, as Fiona keeps looking for the snags of living among these fair folk. I like the fantasy ingraining itself to the ultra modern world of ours. Remind me of elves for some reason.

Emshwiller, Carol: "Overlooking" >> Revolves around the first person narration of the matriarch of the hidden forest people who amuse themselves over the mountain climbers and nature buffs and alternately talks about her experiences with humans and about one day's company of an old man the youngsters brought to her.

Maguire, Gregory: "Fee, Fie, Foe, et Cetera" >> Retelling of the Jack & the Beanstalk story, with the action split between two Jacks - the adventurer and his daft younger brother - and their mother, none of whom are very bright. The king's mismanagement of the treasury leads to trying the family for "agricultural treason". I have never appreciated any of Maguire's works and was dismayed to see his writing included in this anthology.

Bull, Emma: "Joshua Tree" >> The author has the voice down to reality, and paints a compelling picture. The Joshua tree itself is little seen, but remains a focal point in the girl's history. It’s cool how the rave reads like a faery celebration. "The way to get through normal life is to pretend it isn't getting to you. If you let on that you're hurt, the other animals will turn on you and tear you to pieces."

Dunn, Carolyn: "Ali Anugne O Chash (The Boy Who Was)" >> Follows the ill-fated deer hunt of "Ali Anugne O Chash (The Boy Who Was)", the other part of the story narrated by the clubfooted girl who loved him but brought about his downfall. Colors of Native American myths obviously present.

Koja, Kathe: "Remnants" >> The narrator's forest is made of "Remnants" (a "forest" created from garbage-plastic bottles and paper bags strung on rakes) but the 'Department of People Watching' don't like it.

Bell, M. Shayne: "The Pagodas of Ciboure" >> Sickly little Maurice Ravel (future composer) meets "pagodas" - creatures out of French legend - on his grandmother's countryside estate, and asks them to heal him. But what can he do for them? "Even if there were no jewels, it was nice to dream of being rich. This was a place that invited dreams."

Lewis, Bill: "Green Men" (poem) >> "I am lost within a wood/ that is lost within me."

Ford, Jeffrey: "The Green Word" >> The forest people's revolt draws to a close as Moren Kairn accepts the last gift the witch of the forest has to offer: a mysterious seed that grants him easy dying even as he faces execution. The witch, in turn, creates a champion from the earth watered by Kairn's spilled blood: Vertuminous, a manlike tree with fruit where his heart should be, who regenerates every time he's killed.


Book Details:

Title The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest
Author Edited by Terri Windling & Ellen Datlow
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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