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Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  60 reviews
'Engaging, modern fables with a feminist tang' Sunday Times

DARK, POTENT AND UNCANNY, HAG BURSTS WITH THE UNTOLD STORIES OF OUR ISLES, CAPTURED IN VOICES AS VARIED AS THEY ARE VIVID.

Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 8th 2020 by Virago (first published August 29th 2019)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Paromjit
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of re-interpreted ancient folk tales, from a feminist perspective, for our more modern era by a range of diverse women authors that include Daisy Johnson, Kirsty Logan, Emma Glass, Eimear McBride, Natasha Carthew, Mahsuda Snaith, Naomi Booth, Liv Little, Imogen Hermes Gowar, and Irenosen Okojie. The dark, gothic influenced, traditional folk tales are sourced from all corners of the British Isles, originating from the oral tradition, and fittingly this collection be ...more
Amalia Gkavea
‘’Human existence so often calls for exploration through the imagination, through metaphors, images, narratives that give shape to emotions and conditions, to our sense of being and our struggles to survive and thrive. The supernatural and inexplicable, the selkie, the boggart, the mermaid, the Green Children and the fairies return then, tapping into a powerful sense of continuity from past into present and onwards into the future.
For our everyday is not a disenchanted place, however loudly
...more
Joseph
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This collection was born out of a literary experiment curated by Professor Carolyne Larrington. Eight female authors were provided with a British folktale and asked to write a contemporary retelling with a feminist twist. In line with the oral tradition they were inspired by, the stories were first produced as podcasts. Now augmented by two further stories commissioned from Irenosen Okojie and Imogen Hermes Gowar, they are being issued in book form by Virago, the indefatigable publisher of books ...more
Lou
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exploring otherness, identity, faith, religion, gender and sexual trauma, Hag brings together a gripping collection of tales that are unsettlingly timely and wickedly sinister. Each story is inspired by a forgotten folk tale sourced from across the UK by Professor Carolyne Larrington, a specialist in Old Norse and British fairy tales at St John's College, Oxford. Drawn from illuminated manuscripts and other folkloric traditions, these stories have been revised and reimagined by authors local to ...more
Elle K
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5

Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones, and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.

From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle, and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ir
...more
Jasmine
I think Hag is a book that would have a very niche audience. The stories all seem to have this undercurrent of ambiguity and creepiness that I doubt would thrive in a mainstream reading community, although several of the stories could absolutely be expanded to full-length novels that would be consumed with ease. I'll give mini reviews and ratings for each of the stories within the collection.

A Retelling: Daisy Johnson - 3/5
This was weirdly metafictional, a story of how this particular story came
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Contrary Reader
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit of a mixed bag- better if not read through the lens of ‘folk tales’. Emma Glass, Naomi Booth, Kirsty Logan, Mahsuda Snaith and to round it all off the brilliant turn by Imogen Hermes Gowar are the ones I would recommend
Lara
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hag is a collection of short stories based on UK folklore, that have been told in a contemporary fashion by some splendid authors. Covering a range of mythological creatures like fairies, elves, selkies, mermaids and weird paranormal stories like the Dauntless Girl and The brothers, theses stories are brought to life and respun in modern times. The original tales can be found at the back of the book to give some context.

In all of the ones that I really liked, I preferred the retelling to the or
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Helen
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of stories from some of the best contemporary female writers, Hag really is a gem. Retelling english folklore, some I knew, others I didnt, but bringing them kicking and screaming into the modern world. The stories all had links to the mythology present in their original tales, but with over arching themes of nature and feminism. I was expecting to really like this book but it more than lived up to expectations.

The stories were picked from different parts of the UK and I
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Jemima
This story collection is a wonderful exploration of folktales from around the British Isles (and from further afield), often touching on themes of gender, sexuality and motherhood. Whilst each of the stories are unique and varied in style, they all fit seamlessly together into a coherent selection of tales. Additionally, there is a comfortable mix of stories which are historical and stories which have been brought into a contemporary setting. The historical stories such as Mahsuda Snaith’s ‘The ...more
Louise
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
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Karen Rós
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Amanda
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Forgotten Folktales Reimagined

Curated by Professor Carolyne Larrington, St John’s College, Oxford, these stories are inspired by the forgotten folklore of the British Isles. The project originated as a podcast, emphasising the oral tradition. Here, for the first time and with two new contributions, the stories are brought to the page.

And what stories they are. Dark, powerful, feminist and current, as to be expected from authors Kirsty Logan, Irenosen Okojie, Daisy Johnson, Eimear McBride, Emma
...more
Kate Sawyer
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of my favourite books has long been a big compedium of British Folk Tales that I received for my seventh birthday. It is a collection of short, unembroidered of stories from around the British Isles, collated by Kevin Crossley-Holland. What a joy then to have the opportunity to read HAG, a book of short stories inspired by those tales I have long held dear, by many of my favourite female authors and with a deliciously modern, diverse and feminist flavour to their retellings.
Each story has it
...more
Eule Luftschloss
trigger warning
(view spoiler)

Everybody knows Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel - but do you know Selkies, the Boggart, the fair Folk? In this collection, female authors retell classic folktales from the British Islands, and yes, some of them are queer.

Some of these stories I knew, some I did
...more
Alicja
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My rating: 4.5/5

Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my e-copy. Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold has been such a pleasure to read. Growing up in Poland, I’m used to both well-known Western fairytales and legends as well as those firmly ingrained in Polish tradition. However, I haven’t read or heard of many typically English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish folklore tales previously, so I was very curious about Hag. And I wasn’t disappointed.

This collection has been full of interesting
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Resh (The Book Satchel)
A collection of re-interpreted ancient folk tales, from the British isles— Cornwall, Wales, Fens, Yorkshire etc—written by contemporary authors. These stories were began as podcasts—keeping in mind the iral tradition of storytelling. All stories were atmospheric, with varying strengths of dark themes. Acc to Carolyne Larrington in the introduction, The British and Irish folktale traditions slipped away between the 18th and 19th centuries while other fairytales like the Grimms and Andersens’ with ...more
Siobhan
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hag is a collection of retold folk stories written by female authors, using tales from across the UK. From self-conscious retellings to modern versions, the stories all have different takes on their source material, engaging with them in different ways to bring new life to the folktales. Each story lists its inspiration, and then the book concludes with quoted passages giving a sense of the original tale.

As someone who doesn't really know any folk stories beyond those already known and adapted i
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Victoria
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs

Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.

From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland t
...more
Lindsey
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75/5

'I'll take the chance you're wise enough to suspect that the obligation to create likeable female protagonists is only pandering to a certain kind of audience.'⠀

The format of this collection is a preface, the ten new retellings, and the original stories, the basis for the re-imagining. I read each new story than the original. Johnson's retelling of 'The Green Children of Woolpit' brought back fond memories as it was the text I had to translate in my final Latin exam. ⠀

Other than this sto
...more
Ellis (whatellisreadnext)
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
𝘞𝘦'𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘯𝘴, 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘫𝘢𝘸𝘣𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴. 𝘉𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘬𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳.

Hag is a bunch of English Folktale retellings from a selection of authors. It's been such a long time since I read a short story collection, especially one featuring different writers, but this was just what the doctor ordered. I've been feeling a bit bogged down with my reading lately and it was so nice to dip in and out of this one, just to read a story or two at a
...more
Tilly (The Biblioshelf)
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Hag is a wonderfully relevant and apt anthology of British and Irish folktale retellings, perfect for the upcoming Halloween season. Filled with feisty female characters, atmospheric settings and morals aplenty, the fairytale lover within me thoroughly enjoyed rediscovering some of these bygone traditional tales.

Originally a podcast series, Professor Carolyne Larrington conjured up a writing experiment which tasked 8-10 inspiring British and Irish women authors to write a contemporary retelling
...more
Vivienne
My thanks to Virago for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold’ in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher “From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today.”

The Preface by Professor Carolyne Larrington was excellent and provided an overview including t
...more
Leona Wyatt (Lennie Reads)
Thank you to NetGalley and Virago for my e-ARC in return for an honest review.

I'm not quite sure how to rate this as it's a collection of stories written by 10 different authors in very different styles.

The book has a very informative foreword, which is almost a story in itself, and explains how the book came to be and some info on what the retellings are based on.

It also has the sources of the 'original' written folktales in the back of the book. This is so you can see what the authors had t
...more
mylogicisfuzzy
Hag started off as a podcast and what a wonderful idea: preserving little known or forgotten folk tales from the British Isles. Every child knows about Little Mermaid or Red Riding Hood but Yorkshire boggarts and Somerset pixies - not so much. Carolyne Larrington, professor of Medieval English Literature at Oxford conceived the project, researched and selected folk tales and left them to germinate in the minds of some of the best female authors found across the Isles. I very much enjoyed the res ...more
Stuart Dredge
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is delicious: a collection of traditional folk tales from across the British Isles, retold by modern authors (all women) and often updated for the present day. They're as dark, eerie, murderous and creepy as you'd want folk tales to be. I had some very strange dreams while reading this book, which is also high praise for this kind of short fiction!

I haven't read that many collections of stories by different writers, so I found the changes in tone/style from story to story very refreshing. T
...more
Zoe Ranson
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A brilliant line-up of female writers reimagine folk lore -
Hag is a slighter version of Kate Bernheimer's modern myth project 'My mother I killed her, My father he ate me' with a British focus.
Originally conceived as a podcast, the published version includes two additional stories from Irenson Okojie and Imogen Hermes Gowar.

There is a powerful darkness at the core of this project. The authorial voices each dazzle
in their uniqueness and the reader is pulled through by the diverse approaches to
...more
Ella (The Story Collector)
Hag is a collection of retellings of lesser-known folktales originating from around the United Kingdom. From a selection of female authors, come stories of pixies who prey on violent men, a boggart haunting a dairy farm, a woman who transforms into a panther, a silkie who spends half his life on land and half in the sea, and much more. The retellings are all female-centric and re-imagined for the modern era.

Every one of the stories in this collection was fantastic and special in its own way. Of
...more
Rachel Slocombe
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Treat the female of your species well,  for if they are provoked,  they will one day surely pounce.
.
As with all short story collections this had some stories I loved, some I hated and some in between. It was overall good though. 'The Panther's Tale' was definitely my favourite.
.
Between Sea and Skye annoyed me because one of the characters was an archaeologist and her health and safety was awful, also no one has ever done a dig without at least a few students looking for work experience to be th
...more
Carolyn
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally concieved as a podcast project (to better mimic the oral storytelling traditions from which these tales originate), curated by Professor Carolyne Larrington (who has also written the introduction) this collection gathers together all the stories from that project as well as two new ones written especially for this collection. The stories are retellings of lesser known folktales from all across the British Isles - from strange green children to boggarts, pixies & mermaids - retold by c ...more
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Shortisted for the Man Booker Prize for Everything Under, her debut novel.

Daisy Johnson's début short story collection, Fen, was published by Jonathan Cape on the 2nd of June, 2016 and by Graywolf in 2017.

She has been longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award and the New Angle Award for East Anglian writing. She was the winner of the Edge Hill award for a collection of short stories and t
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