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In the Forest of Forgetting

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  959 ratings  ·  110 reviews
The reprint of In the Forest of Forgetting by award-winning author Theodora Goss, first published in 2006 by Prime Books, with an introduction by Terri Windling and cover art by Virginia Lee. The table of contents has been slightly modified: "Phalaenopsis" has been replaced by "Her Mother's Ghosts," which first appeared in 2004 in The Rose and Twelve Petals and Other Stori ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published June 30th 2014 by Papaveria Press (first published October 1st 2005)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$1.99 Kindle sale, August 8, 2020, for this collection of 16 fantasy shorts by the very talented Theodora Goss, and I’ve only read one of them (where the GR librarians did their trick of moving short story reviews to a collection, so that review is below). I’m going to bite on this Kindle sale, though!

“Pip and the Fairies” is a charming short story about the intersection between fairy tales and reality, free online at Strange Horizons. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I went on a bit of
Althea Ann
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of mythopoeic fiction I like. A collection of quite short stories, but they pack a lot in to their brief length.

"The Rose in Twelve Petals"
A fractured retelling of 'Sleeping Beauty' (or, 'Briar Rose'), in a dozen brief vignettes, set in a more concrete version of Europe than the usual fairy-tale fare.

"Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold"
A not-very-successful professor and a French poet, both with hidden talents, are summoned by a mysterious figure to an interstitial pl
Bryan Alexander
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the Forest of Forgetting is an anthology of beautiful, well crafted, and dreamlike short stories. They exist on the edges of dream, fable, and folklore, each one a unique take on the fantastic. With a very few words Theodora Goss takes us into visionary realms.

Dreams are central to these tales. Some are explicitly about dreaming, like "Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold", while others draw heavily on dreams, dreamlike states, and visions, such as "Conrad", "Pip and the Fairies", "Pha
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, library
I’ve always enjoyed that section of fantasy writing that not only retells fairytales but takes them in different directions, to the darker places, or sets them in more contemporary situations. This collection of 16 stories by Theodora Goss is beautifully crafted, well written and reflects on many things. Some are dreamlike or surreal, others have more subtle magic (science that we don’t understand yet). My favourites include “Lily, with Clouds” about estranged sisters and the title story about a ...more
Kevin Farrell
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an interesting collection of stories from Theodora Goss. I would rate some as 3 star and some as 5 star so the aggregate score is 4 stars for the book.

The best and most personally meaningful was "In The Forest of Forgetting". In this story, the main character is in a dream like forest and can't remember who she is or why she is there. She keeps meeting people that she vaguely recognizes as important people in her life but keeps moving deeper into the forest. Several people try to convinc
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: everything
A beautifully crafted collection of short stories, Theodora Goss’ In the Forest of Forgetting draws on fairy tale and mythological motifs in creative and unexpected ways. While most, if not all, of the stories were amazing, these were the highlights of the book, at least in my opinion.

In the Forest of Forgetting
In the Forest of Forgetting, the story from which the book takes its title, is breathtaking and haunting. A soberly enchanting allegory, it chronicles a woman’s journey with breast cance
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytales
I read "Sleeping With Bears" online (on a fantasy magazine website, I think?) and as soon as I'd finished it, I ordered this book. That was how good it was. I couldn't wait to read this, and although some of the stories were better than others (I'll be honest, I didn't really understand the philosophy ones?) I've never been so satisfied with an impulse buy.

The writing is perfect -- exactly to my taste. It's beautiful and enchanting, but not overly complex or inaccessible. The ordinary sits along
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love a good book of short stories, and these are exquisite. Just the right blend of magical and unnerving, without being too weird, too overwhelming, or too depressing. Highly recommended if you love Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, Elizabeth Hand, or Kelly Link's short story collections. ...more
MB (What she read)
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy short stories by Kelly Link, Susannah Clarke, Joan Aiken and (maybe) Saki
Recommended to MB (What she read) by: Can't remember. Sherwood Smith?
3.5 stars
Evocative haunting fantastical short stories.
Mary Catelli
A short story about a woman reflecting back on the fantasy tales her mothers wrote and their interrelation with her life. Quite magical.
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked some of the short stories. There is one that is like sleeping beauty and a weird one about bears. Maybe I don’t really get this author.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely remarkable collection of stories. Remarkable, phenomenal, fantastic – I could waste a day’s worth of superlative adjectives on this book and Goss. These stories are fairytales in the truest sense of the genre. They call to mind Tolkien’s quote on the origin of fairy-stories; “Such stories have now a mythical or total (unanalyzable) effect … they open a door on Other Time, and if we pass through, though only for a moment, we stand outside our own time, outside Time itself, mayb ...more
Michael Battaglia
I haven't the slightest idea where I even came across this book other than I must have come across it in the midst of a short story collections kick. I don't have a lot of fantasy short story collections other than a few Lord Dunsany volumes although I'm not sure that fantasy is as well known for its short fiction as say, science-fiction unless you start counting sword-and-sorcery Conan the Barbarian type stories. Maybe because fantasy can lend itself easier to epic sprawl than SF or maybe its e ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a most excellent collection of sixteen not-at-all-sweet-but-very-literary fantasy short stories. I found the use of language and vocabulary particularly appealing. Many have mythological or traditional fairy tale foundations. My favorites were the Emily Gray stories, and saw in them something of a foreshadowing of the Athena Club novels. The stories all had a rather dark and bleak character and I could have done with a bit more humor or a more cheerful perspective at times, but enjoyed t ...more
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on Short Story Review:

Theodora Goss is a master of place. In all sixteen short stories included in her collection In the Forest of Forgetting, the setting, though often a fictional and fantastical place, is as vivid as the characters, many of whom are greatly affected by the places they inhabit. In the introduction by Terri Windling, which gives an interesting biography of Goss and explores her historical context for the way she writes, Windling says, “Goss is a travel guide ac
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of (quite) short stories by Theodora Goss. They mostly fall into a category I'd call fantasy, but some are more closely related to fairy tales. I'll go over each story briefly.

### The Rose in Twelve Petals
A broken-up retelling of *Sleeping Beauty*. I'm not super familiar with the original tale, but this story is set in Medieval Europe and told in twelve parts.

### Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold
A professor and a French poet meet at a place-between-the-worlds (of lif
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quote from the introduction: "My problem is with the guards who say, 'You cannot cross the border.' Because when borders are closed, those on either side experience immobility and claustrophobia, and those who cross them (illegally, by night) suffer incalcuable loss."

I find so any people build their own borders and are their own guards, mostly out of fear.

What an usual mind this author has to come up with all these very unusual stories! I love short stories! So few authors write them anymore, an
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Redditgifts Book Exchange 2014

This short story collection has, with just a single reading, immediately been added to the short list of books I recommend to all readers. Somewhere online, possibly on her own site's FAQs, Catherynne M. Valente mentioned Theodora Goss and specifically this collection as being writing that she especially found meaning in. That is how I first heard of Goss, and I immediately put the book on my wishlist. If I had known how good the writing is, how deeply thoughtful t
I thought I had read quite a few short stories by Theodora Goss, but of the sixteen stories in this collection, I had only read one! And I enjoyed almost all of them, and even the few I was iffy on, I thought were well-written. Goss writes with rich imagery and focused, realistic, unique characters, and her entwining of those two are what makes her short stories so good. The characters feel real, and I almost believe they are real, yet the situations are fantastical. My favorites were "Professor ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short_stories
Absolutely adored the story "Lily, with Clouds." The others were well imagined as well. I like an author who introduces fantastical elements as if they are a part of every day life. ...more
Short story collections rarely get more than 3 stars from me, because a collection always has such different stories, some that I really enjoy and some that don't do much for me. This is probably a 3.5 stars. In this collection, my favourite stories featured Miss Emily Gray, a sort of a Mary Poppins-like character with a dollop of "be-careful-what-you-wish-for".

CW: Terminal cancer. Two of the stories ("Lily, with Clouds" and "In the Forest of Forgetting") specifically revolve around this, but a
Eleanor Glewwe
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had previously read some stories of Theodora Goss’s, and I knew of her novels about “the daughters of literature’s mad scientists,” which intrigued me. I’d also appreciated the references to academia in some of her work, since characters in grad school are relevant to my interests. This book, collecting stories published in Realms of Fantasy, Polyphony, Alchemy, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere, as well as two new stories, was wonderful. One of the stories, “The Rapid Advance of Sorrow,” origin ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story, fantasy
I actually picked up this book thinking it was something else, but I'm glad I decided to read it. This is a collection of Goss's fantasy short stories -- it's an uneven collection, but Goss's prose is unfailingly assured and beautiful. These stories get five out of five stars for atmosphere and imagery, but the plot and characterisations do let them down at times. Mostly stories are independent of one another, but there are a couple of recurring characters, particularly Miss Emily Gray, the myst ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Theodora Goss is a master storyteller/writer. Her stories approach perfection. I would give the book five stars, but most of the stories are in a genre that I am not fond of, so I had to drag myself through the first several stories the book. Most of the stories are set a in the recent past, or a century or two back, with European sensibilities, somewhat similarly to her Athena Club series, which I rated five stars but which is still not my genre. The difference is that in these stories, writing ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This book was okay. It held my attention as it was interesting and well written in many parts. Several of the stories inter-lapped as well which I thought was a creative touch. I say it was okay because I didn't care for a few of the stories and the ones that I liked I didn't really feel were anything special. I wouldn't say it's a super easy read. It's definitely a book that you have to pay full attention to in order to really understand what is going on in the stories and there were a few typo ...more
Solid 'meh'. This author and I just don't mesh. Some stories were too surreal to the point where they had little to no plot and felt pointless. Some stories that had plot were just...predictable? I mean, when your allegory is broadcast so obviously that I can pick up how it's going to end halfway through, that's a bad sign with me. And in the few stories that had okay plots, the language just didn't grab me. It felt drab and gray and just...nah. ...more
Amy K.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Each of these stories has something delightfully unexpected lurking, even if sometimes that delight is tinged with a decided uneasiness. Goss' facility with language, creating a vivid and wholly realized world in each tale, is matched by the pacing of the stories, which brings the reader to a perfect tension and only sometimes satisfies with an absolute resolution. These are gorgeous, vibrant, and fantastical tales in which a person can be happily lost. ...more
4.5 stars, rounded down from 5. As with all short stories, some I liked more than others. Some I really liked: The Rose in Twelve Petals, Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold (I would have said yes), Miss Emily Gray (be careful what you wish for), The Wings of Meister Wilhelm, Conrad, and my most favorite, Lessons with Miss Gray. A little something for everyone and well worth the read.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Stories in the first half too dark for me, glad I stuck it out to the second half. This book and a few other stories I've read on the Tor website seem not at all like the book I read a week or so ago.....drat the title is... Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter. And I've just noticed that she's Hungarian American and that certainly influences the short stories amazingly.

Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of magical stories though there were a few that didn't interest me much. Especially towards the end. (But Lessons with Miss Gray was a good finish)

I particularly liked Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold, Letters From Budapest, The Wings of Meister Wilhelm and the Rapid Advance of Sorrow.

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Theodora Goss was born in Hungary and spent her childhood in various European countries before her family moved to the United States, where she completed a PhD in English literature. She is the World Fantasy and Locus Award-winning author of the short story and poetry collections In the Forest of Forgetting (2006), Songs for Ophelia (2014), and Snow White Learns Witchcraft (2019), as well as novel ...more

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“I will tell you, too, that every fairy tale has a moral. The moral of my story may be that love is a constraint, as strong as any belt. And this is certainly true, which makes it a good moral. Or it may be that we are all constrained in some way, either in our bodies, or in our hearts or minds, an Empress as well as the woman who does her laundry. ... Perhaps it is that a shoemaker's daughter can bear restraint less easily than an aristocrat, that what he can bear for three years she can endure only for three days. ... Or perhaps my moral is that our desire for freedom is stronger than love or pity. That is a wicked moral, or so the Church has taught us. But I do not know which moral is the correct one. And that is also the way of a fairy tale.” 31 likes
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