Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This fantasy book full of short stories has got to be some of the most beautiful that I've ever read, and it's not merely because of the richness of the characters, or of how much thought and careful effort was spent in the crafting of so many different women. Indeed, I don't even love it because so many classic fairy tales were taken by the scruff and were scolded and were transformed as if by magic into things utterly different than their original beginnings, or so altered that we are now living in the boots of the witches, the changelings, the trolls, or even just the women who are normally relegated to the sidelines, but who are now wonderful agents of change and wisdom or even revenge and regret.
I love it because of the language, the brush strokes that got the story out there quick and dirty, how effortless it was to fall into the tales and forget where I was or even the fact that I'm a man, that I'm not truly trying to piece these individual stories together into a much larger tapestry that beckons me closer, asking me to slice open my neck and let it drain the last of my magic so as to step out and breathe in the air of my reality, instead.
Yeah, this fantasy is just that good.
I debated going through each story and pinpointing the legends that Slatter makes her own, quickly, deftly, with no chaff, but Althea Ann has already made a wonderful review doing just that, and she included most of the tie-ins, the sequel-ish stories, and some recurring themes. I could add to it, I suppose, but there's something I should add here: This book deserves to be read, to be experienced for yourself.
I worried, at first, that I was going to be speechless and dumb after reading it. It was just that immersive and wonderful and scary and delightful and haunting.
That being said, I do want to mention a few of my absolute favorites. "Little Radish" was pretty much perfect from conception to first breath. "Ash" was delightfully dark. "A Porcelain Soul" was tragic and beautiful.
And "Sister, Sister" was delightful in every way, turning most tropes on their head and also managing to slip in so many of the MC's of the other stories, so much as to make my eyes shine.
What really makes me upset is the fact that this book is so damn hard to find in print, now, except by kindle.
That's a real shame because the stories are plainly superior to almost all that I've read in the fantasy field. :)
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