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message 1: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rprensner) | 3 comments I joined this group because I enjoy retellings of fairytales, and this wa sthe closest group I could find for that on this site. Does anyone have any recomendations?

message 2: by Tani (new)

Tani | 8 comments I really enjoyed Briar Rose by Jane Yolen and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, which are both retellings of Sleeping Beauty.

message 3: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments A few years ago I published a story at in their section for retellings of fairy tales and legends. I can't vouch for the quality of each peice, but there were some good ones there (but not all technically meet the requirements of a "fairy tale"). Unfortunately that website apparently went under back in 2004 or so, but they still have their archives online. Don't have any other sources for retellings coming to my head at the moment-- though there is always CS Lewis' retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth (which is also a tale type found in fairy tales around the world), as well as Dennis McKiernan's retelling of the Scandinavian equivilant of the "supernatural husband" story-- might have been called a Winters Tale or something like that (though that's also the name of a book by Mark Helprin, I think). But I've hated the two books I tried reading by McKiernan, and haven't read the fairy tale one, so can't really recommend it.

message 4: by The Crimson Fucker (last edited Dec 28, 2007 11:47PM) (new)

The Crimson Fucker (tcf123) Blayre, try The Last Wish (Gollancz S.F.)
you'll love it.

message 5: by Caroline (new)

Caroline The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale is a good one to read--she's done a few others, as well, if you enjoy that one. I think The Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days are the only ones of hers that are actually based off of fairy tales, but the others are really worth reading, too!

Patricia A. McKillip is also a good author, although to my knowledge she's only done one re-writing of a fairy tale (Winter Rose). All of her books have a magical, fairy tale feel to them and are really enjoyable.

message 6: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rprensner) | 3 comments I greatly respect CS Lewis and enjoy his writing style- I've actually read his Cupid and Psyche story.I did not like that at all- I think it was too "out there" for me. I couldn't appreciate all the symbolism. Actually, the only book I've ever read by him and really loved was the Chronicles of Narnia, but I think he's still my favorite author. I don't even pretend to amke sense....

message 7: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments Honestly, Lewis' "Till We Have Faces" doesn't feel much like a fairy tale in any case, so maybe I shouldn't have recommended it. And it has a very different feel from the Chronicles of Narnia, so no surprise if you liked one and not the other.

message 8: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (hughbehm-steinberg) Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is classic -- especially the title story, which is a retelling of Bluebeard. Also Kelly Link's story "Travels With the Snow Queen," in her first book, Stranger Things Happen.

message 9: by Alexandra (last edited Dec 30, 2007 06:23AM) (new)

Alexandra I'll second Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. Loved it. Although this story isn't fairy-tale like itself, if that's not what you're looking for.

Other retold fairy tales:

Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguié (a take on "The Little Mermaid"). Didn't blow me away, but it was enjoyable.
The Nightingale by Kara Dalkey. Read by don't really remember
Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede. Read by don't really remember
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Read by don't really remember
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley. Read by don't really remember
Jack of Kinrowan: Jack the Giant-Killer and Drink Down the Moon by Charles de Lint. Read by don't really remember
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope (inspired by "Tam Lin") One of my favorites.

Not retellings, but fairy-tale like:

The Fairy Godmother: A Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms by Mercedes Lackey. I enjoyed it, thought it's fun.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman. One of my favorites

Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell (this one is a children's story) One of my favorites

on my "to-read" list:

The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of "The Arabian Nights" by Cameron Dokey. Has gotten good reviews, I've just started it, and like it so far.

Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost. "A tale of Bluebeard".
Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" by Cameron Dokey
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn. Based on "The 12 Dancing Princesses"
The Rose Bride: A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride" by Nancy Holder
Water Song: A Retelling of "The Frog Prince" by Suzanne Weyn
White As Snow by Tanith Lee
Sunlight and Shadow by Cameron Dokey. Based on "The Magic Flute"
Snow: A Retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" by Lynn Tracy
Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" by Cameron Dokey
Golden: A Retelling of "Rapunzel" by Cameron Dokey
Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip
Deerskin by Robin McKinley. Based on Perrault's "Donkeyskin"
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley. (Sleeping Beauty)

message 10: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rprensner) | 3 comments Ones I've already read:
Beauty by Mckinley- I loved it- it's one of my favorite books!
The STorytellers Daughter- Dokey- I enjoyed it. but not a favorite...
Beauty Sleep- ditto
Spindle's End- Mckinley- not bad
Thank you so much for all the suggestions!

message 11: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra You're welcome! Let us know what you think if you read others. :)

message 12: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Blayre, just FYI, I just added A Wolf at the Door: and Other Retold Fairy Tales edited by Terri Windling to my "to-read" list.

message 13: by Carla (new)

Carla There are about 7 or 8 trade paperback collections of this graphic. They are fantastic! Start with "Fables: Legends in Exile"

message 14: by Carla (new)

Carla Carter's works are some of my all time favorite. She offers a postmodern, feminist retelling of fairy tales/fables. The Bluebeard story is fantastic but her version of Beauty and the Beast is my favorite.

message 15: by Rindis (new)

Rindis | 80 comments There is also The Firebird by Mercedes Lackey, which is based on a Russian fairy tale. It has pacing problems, but is good.

There is also Charles Vess' Ballads and Sagas which has seen a few graphic novel collections (though I haven't managed to keep up with what has been done). Vess is a wonderful illustrator, and is going directly off the originals (well, as directly as anything can be, when it starts as oral tradition).

The Oz books were considered 'modern fairy-tale' when they came out, and I consider (and highly recommend) Crilley's Akiko series as 'modern Oz', though it does not have any actual fairy-tale trappings.

message 16: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (teacupfangirl) If you're interested in reading the "original" fairy tales in their various versions as well as some modern retellings plus essays on them, try Maria Tatar's The Classic Fairy Tales. I picked it up for a class when I was working on my BA; it's a wonderful resource and a fascinating read.

message 17: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments If anyone is foolhardy enough to try to read an 800 page academic book on fairy tales in their rural context, I would suggest Bengt Holbek's "Interpretation of Fairy Tales"-- focuses on Danish fairy tales, but the conclusions are pretty widely applicable across Europe. As for non-european fairy tales, I believe there is a debate about whether or not the "fairy tale" or "märchen" as a genre exists outside of Europe and Russia, but that mean being really nitpicky about what exactly we mean by "fairy tale", and certainly a lot of tale-types and motifs are found around the world (I think Cupid and Psyche, Cinderella/Ashboy, and the Swan Maiden, are the most widespread, with variations of course).
I just remembered, Kvideland and Sehmsdorf (sp?) have a collection of Scandinavian Fairy Tales out which is organized as a sampling of the repetoires of specific story tellers which were interviewed by collectors back in the heyday of folklore collecting-- a cool way to do it, but I don't know if I can wholeheartedly recommend their work, as my professor has complained about their sloppy work in the past.
Okay, sorry for the academic stuff! I know that's not what the thread was supposed to be about. As far as old school literary retellings of fairy tales, has anyone recommended Andrew Lang's books yet? And did William Morris do some of that?

message 18: by Shannon (new)

Shannon  (giraffe_days) I haven't read it all yet, but Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales is wonderful.

message 19: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I just finished The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of "The Arabian Nights" by Cameron Dokey. Loved it.

message 20: by Michele (last edited Jan 18, 2008 03:32PM) (new)

Michele This is a favorite genre of mine as well. Good ones to get:

* Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee - wonderful retellings that twist the stories into a new form without losing any of their classic punch

* Almost anything by Charles de Lint - many of his works have fairy tale elements though the story as a whole may not be a retelling

* Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow have edited a series of books with retold fairy tales. Offhand I recall "Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears," "Black Heart, Ivory Bones," "Silver Birch, Blood Moon," "Black Thorn, White Rose," but there are others.

* Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar trilogy (first one is The Summer Tree) - excellent retelling of numerous folk tales and myths tied into one story; this man has done his research!

* Beauty, by Sheri S. Tepper

* The Sleeping Beauty trilogy by A. N. Rocquelaure (actually Anne Rice) - this is a seriously erotic retelling of S.B.

* Transformations, by Anne Sexton - fairy tales retold in unusual form

* The website has a great list of retold fairy tales in all kidns of genres and formats

* For a scholarly look at the variations of a single fairy tale, see "Cinderella: 345 variants" by Marian Cox

message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Wright (wrightales) | 3 comments You should try reading the Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier (Book 1 is Daughter of the Forest)
Fabulous retelling of the story about the seven brothers turned into swans who can only return to human for if their sister knits them sweaters of nettles.

message 22: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Lisa, I've got Daughter of the Forest on my to-read list, so it's good to see someone recommend it :)

message 23: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments If you're interested in a satirical, dry-humorous retelling, try James Finn Garner. He wrote Once Upon a More Enlightened Time, and Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.

My favorite story is "Sleeping Persun of Better Than Average Attractiveness"

message 24: by Ainsley (new)

Ainsley Just wanted to say thank you to Carl who directed me to the website of What a wonderful resource!

Re: the original question, have you read Aesop's fables recently (not the kids version, say, the Penguin Classics version)? It's a lot darker than I remember, and it's full of 'morals'that seem quite antiquated i.e. Know your place in life, Don't try to step beyond your station, etc.

Hope this helps.

message 25: by Shiloh (new)

Shiloh Sanchez | 2 comments I just started reading the comic book series 'Fables' yesterday! I like it lots.

message 26: by Georgia (new)

Georgia Portuondo (georgiamaria) | 2 comments I second the comic book "Fables".

If you like animal myths, "Buffalo Gals" by Ursula Le Guin and "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman are both very good

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman is also good. It's a fairytale, but it's not a re-telling of a specific fairytale.

Also, more on the young adult fiction side, I really enjoyed "The Rose and the Beast" by Francesca Lia Block.

message 27: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments Just a quick note about the section on fairy tales ("The Crown and Thistle Inn") is only literary retellings of fairy tales, often times with quite a few liberties taken-- which is fine, as long as I don't end up finding any of my students using the fables account of the binding of Fenrir in a paper!
By the way, does any one out there know why Fables ended up stopping? They were supposed to come out with a best of collection in 2005 (and my story was going to be in it!) but then they stopped putting up new issues with Winter 2004, and I've never been able to find any info on what happened ever since.

message 28: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Just put them on my "to-read" list Readhead, thanks!

message 29: by Janalysis (new)

Janalysis | 6 comments Okay, you HAVE to read The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. You will love it, because it has all sorts of classic fairy tale elements in it. It's the first in the 500 kingdoms series, the next is One Good Knight, and then Fortune's Fool. This series contains kind of a mixture of fairytales. The first one has Cinderella plus elements of your traditional "three brothers go on a quest and the first two fail and the youngest one gets the princess" tale. Plus others. One Good Knight has the Greek myth of Andromeda plus St. George and the Dragon. The third has a bit of The Little Mermaid, plus Russian and Japanese mythology.

She also has the Elemental Masters series. It has retellings of Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and the last one is harder to define, I guess part The Little Princess and part the Snow Queen. The books are Fire Rose, Gates of Sleep, Serpent's Shadow, Phoenix and Ashes, and the Wizard of London.

I could list more, because I am also a huge fan of retold fairy tales, but I'll stick with these for now.

message 30: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments I'm currently reading Deerskin by McKinley ... I probably wouldn't have picked it up if it wasn't for this discussion thread - despite the fact I've thoroughly enjoyed everything else I read by McKinley! Thanks!

message 31: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Jauranna, I enjoyed The Fairy Godmother series too :)

message 32: by Janalysis (new)

Janalysis | 6 comments I've been reading Mercedes Lackey for, oh, probably about 15 years now. She's one of my all time favorite authors. The Fairy Godmother only came out in the last few years, but it rocketed up to my number one favorite book by her as soon as I read it. My second favorite by her would have to be The Fire Rose. It should technically be the first Elemental Masters book, although every time I see that series listed, it isn't on there. They always show Gates of Sleep as the first in the series. Oh well. ::shrug::

message 33: by Delanie (new)

Delanie | 4 comments While I generally love everything McKinley's written, "Deerskin" is pretty dark. I know it's a retelling of an old story, but it still really made me want to throw up. I'm an absolute proponent of Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber, fantastic, wonderful, amazing (like everything she does)! Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, somebody mentioned that...the fairytale part of it really only comes out in probably the last 50 pages, but it is well written.

message 34: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments I've now read both Deerskin and Spindle's End by McKinley - I heartily agree that Deerskin is dark. It is also told in a more traditional fairytale "voice" than many other modern retellings. I enjoyed Spindle's End better ... partly because it wasn't as dark, and partly because I didn't feel as distanced by it and the way the story was told.

Another suggestion I'd like to make is Sharon Shinn's The Shapechanger's Wife. I honestly don't have much background in fairytales - I don't know if it is a retelling of a true fairytale or not, but I think you'll agree that it has much the same feel. Definitely worth a quick read, either way.

message 35: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1 comments I'm really surprised that Gail Carson Levine isn't on this list. I loved Ella Enchanted, but Fairest was SOO much better. She has a ton of stories based on fairy tales with a modern twist. (sorry for the lateness of this test)

message 36: by Werner (new)

Werner A couple of Tanith Lee's books were already mentioned above; but another worthwhile one in this vein that hasn't been cited is her story collection Red as Blood. (I gave it four stars when I reviewed it.)

message 37: by Mir (new)

Mir | 31 comments There's a new kids' book out by Neil Gaiman, called Odd and the Frost Giants. It is based on norse legends.

message 38: by Miranda (new)

Miranda (insilhouette) | 2 comments For fairy tales, I love The Rose and The Beast Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. I also remember liking a book where the story of Briar Rose was woven into a story about a girl's grandmother who was a prisoner at Auschwitz, but I don't remember who it was by. Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts has a slew of great poetry and short fiction inspired by fairy tales. Neil Gaiman also has good fairy-tale-inspired work: my favorites are Snow, Glass, Apples, The Troll Bridge (both of those are found in Smoke and Mirrors Short Fictions and Illusions), and The Hidden Chamber (found in Fragile Things Short Fictions and Wonders). The latter is probably my favorite; it's a heartbreaking poem depicting Bluebeard's side of the fairy tale.

If you're into mythology as well, definitely check out American Gods. It's brilliant.

message 39: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette (antiem80) | 6 comments Great topic! There are a lot of books mentioned that I'll have to add to my list!

My take:
I don't recommend Ann Rice's retelling of Sleepy Beauty. Written under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure, it's actually a trilogy (book 1 is The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty) that recasts the Sleeping Beauty tale as an S&M/erotic story. I don't have anything against erotica, and there's actually a school of literary theory regarding fairy tales and their sexual themes/warnings/euphemisms, but to me, it wasn't erotic, just bad.

Also, although it's not Sci/Fi, I would recommend Transformations, Anne Sexton's book of poetry retelling the fairy tales from a feminist and contemporary (1970s) perspective.

In addition to Stardust and American Gods, I would also recommend Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere which I took to be a contemporary version of Alice in Wonderland, except with a male protagonist.

Mercedes Lackey has also done some retellings of fairy tales although I can't recommend any per se because I haven't read them.

Also for mythology fans I recommend Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Firebrand, the story of the Trojan War told through the eyes of Cassandra, Paris' twin sister.

On a somewhat related topic, for Arthurian legend fans I highly recommend Persia Woolley's Guinevere Trilogy that begins with Child of the Northern Spring. I seem to be the one person in the world that *hated* The Mists of Avalon.

message 40: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette (antiem80) | 6 comments Michele wrote: "* Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar trilogy (first one is The Summer Tree) - excellent retelling of numerous folk tales and myths tied into one story; this man has done his research!"

FYI: Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song for Arbonne was really good.

The Romance Reviews (Carole) (The_Romance_Reviews) | 4 comments Oh, me too! I loved fairy tale based stories. Will certainly check out the recs here.

message 42: by Mir (new)

Mir | 31 comments Never fear, Antoinette, I also hated Mists of Avalon.

message 43: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette (antiem80) | 6 comments THANK YOU Miriam!!!! To me it was like the First Knight (the worst Arthurian movie I've ever seen) of Arthurian books!

message 44: by Mir (new)

Mir | 31 comments I prefer authors to stay closer to the original story.

message 45: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 20 comments I'm coming late to the party, but here's my two cents:

I love everything by McKinley, so I'll second/third/whatever all of her work. Most of it is retold fairy tales; she actually has two Beauty and Beast retellings (Beauty, which has already been mentioned, and Rose Daughter, which I preferred); she has a Sleeping Beauty retelling (Spindle's End, which has already been mentioned and one of my favorites of hers); she has Deerskin (which has already been mentioned and while I agree it's darker than her other work I think it is her most moving and totally worth the read); she has a retelling of the Robin Hood myth (The Outlaws of Sherwood, which I didn't love as much as the others but which is still excellent) and she has at least one short story collection (The Door in the Hedge) which is all retold fairy tales.

Patricia McKillip is a writer that should appeal to anyone that loves McKinley's best work -- most of her novels use elements from classic fairy tales but don't necessarily retell the fairy tale itself. However, they should definitely qualify because while McKillip doesn't stay exactly true to the plot of the traditional fairy tales, she perfectly captures the feel of them, the sense of magic peeking around the corner of the everyday world, both light and dark. I recommend starting with Alphabet of Thorn, Ombria in Shadow, or The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.

I also enjoyed Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card, and The Shape-Changer's Wife, by Sharon Shinn; I have read and enjoyed some of the Neil Gaiman and Charle de Lint works mentioned, but I'm not positive I'd recommend them to someone specifically seeking fairy-tale retellings, because they're set in modern-day (mostly). . . but if that's not a problem, definitely give them a try.

And I'd add:
Nobody's Son, by Sean Stewart. (Again, not a specific fairy tale retelling, but rather the story of what happens to the boy AFTER he accomplishes the quest and marries the King's daughter -- not written for comic effect, but rather with an eye to the ways our pasts shape us. It's really beautiful.)

Kij Johnson's novels Fudoki and The Fox Woman. (Based on Japanese myths and legends -- fascinating and well-written.)

Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. (This one is written for comic effect, playing with fairy tale tropes; it bears very little resemblance to Miyazaki's excellent movie, but is wonderful nonetheless.)

message 46: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments Gosh, this thread has been going on for a while! I mentioned a collection of Scandinavian Folktales in an earlier post-- it is titled "All the World's Reward", edited by Kvideland and Sehmsdorf-- great book, good introductions, and "real" fairy tales-- meaning those told by the rural working class, the original tellers of these stories. I'm teaching a course in Scandinavian folklore now-- we are also using the book "Folktales of Norway" by Reidar Christiansen, which has a section called "Fictional Folktales" near the end with Fairy Tales (most of the book is actually legends, ie, stories about supernatural beings, etc, which are considered to (possibly) be true-- as opposed to Fairy Tales, which are generally taken as fictional and for entertainment).

message 47: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Hardy (lynnhardy) | 5 comments Rachael wrote: "I joined this group because I enjoy retellings of fairytales, and this wa sthe closest group I could find for that on this site. Does anyone have any recomendations?"

Prophecy of the Flame has often been called a fairy tale for adults. It is a story about 5 people pretending to defend a hotel to win a free weekend. They are zapped into a magical world and turned into their characters. One guy gets to be a dwarf, another an elf. The main character is a woman who was dragged there by her husband and has no clue about all this fantasy stuff. She becomes the most powerful sorceress on the planet.

message 48: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 121 comments Reminds me of Joel Rosenberg's series, the Guardians of the Flame. A group of roleplayers gets transported to the game world and become their characters, but they insist on being more than that.

message 49: by Lynn (last edited May 02, 2010 01:00PM) (new)

Lynn Hardy (lynnhardy) | 5 comments Although I've never read Rosenberg's I've talk to people who have read both. They say both books start off kind of the same but after the first chapter they are nothing a like. Guardians is more political and gritty: the characters have to learn their skills. Prophecy is more like a fairy: they automatically get skills and it's integrating their personalities to their new circumstance.

message 50: by Frank (new)

Frank | 2 comments I recommend the two volumes which make up The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente. The first book is In the Night Garden and the second is In the Cities of Coin and Spice.

An excerpt of the first book is here.

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