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A Wild Swan

Michael Cunningham Ò 2 Summary

This was good but just good Each fairy tale came with a new Twist But The Premise but the premise so familiar that it sometimes felt as though you were just eading the same story you ve ead a thousand times before It s a fast ead though
And I Enjoyed It 
I enjoyed it fairy tale etellings I think I want something vastly different ather than slightly different For anyone who likes classic tales with tiny tweaks this is the book for you For anyone who wants something ead The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter Michael Cunningham is the author of The Hours a book inspired by Virginia Woolf s Mrs Dalloway which won him the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was later adapted into a successful movie I have never ead the book nor seen the film though I eally enjoyed the musical score by Philip Glass which might be his finest work for film you can listen to it here I don t think you will be disappointed A Wild Swan is his first collection of short stories and one which I approached with certain interest and curiosity it is a collection of fairy tales told anew A surprising subject for someone who has been writing mostly ealistic fiction I was very interested me how the author would approach hi subject and in the end can t help but be disappointedThis is a slim collection less than 150 pages long and yet includes 11 stories complete with black and white illustrations by Yuko Shimuzu Cunningham takes classic stories such as Snow White Rapunzel Beauty and the Beast and Jack and the Bean Stalk and tells them again in his own way in a different setting or from another perspective Fairytale etellings are nothing new but they are something entirely new for this particular author and it shows Aside for two exceptions I found none of these new stories to be either particularly impressive or memorable they ead like exercises in writing a way for the author to try himself out in something that he has not attempted before It is not a bad thing in itself but the end esult is not always eady to be presented to a wider audience Such exercises are often hidden in the proverbial drawer where they await better times which often don t comeThe first one is A Monkey s Paw which is of course based on The Monkey s Paw the famous story by W W Jaco. A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a house deep in the forest constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread vanilla frosting and boiled sugar In A Wild Swan and Other Tales the people and the talismans of lands far far away the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime evelation Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed the years after a spell Bs The Monkey s Paw has BEEN ADAPTED INTO OTHER MEDIA AND adapted into other media and multiple times Including a memorable episode of The Simpsons Cunningham s spin is creative enough to be interesting and at the same time just short enough to not overstay its welcome The eal gem of the collection is Little Man which is the etelling of Rumpelstiltskin told in the second person *from the perspective of the imp In the original as collected centuries ago by the Grimm brothers a miller brags *the perspective of the imp In the original as collected centuries ago by the Grimm brothers a miller brags the King of his ealm that his daughter can spin straw into gold the King throws the poor girl into a locked oom full of straw and demands that she turn it all into gold before morning or else she will be beheaded Rumpelstiltskin is the mysterious figure who appears out of nowhere offering her a deal he will spin the straw into gold for exchange of something of hers First he takes her necklace when the King sees a oom full of gold and locks her in an even bigger oom demanding gold he takes her ing when the next day the King says that he will marry her if she will turn another oom of straw into gold the imp demands their firstborn childIn the original tale just appears out of nowhere and not as a savior
He Essentially Blackmails The 
essentially blackmails the into giving him what he wants knowing full well that these are offers that she can t efuse if she wants to live in some versions of the stories the imp begins to spin gold despite the girl protesting that she has nothing to pay him at the last day and tells her that he will take her first child leaving her horrified The original tale offers no information about the imp his character or motivation we can see him as unlikable but we do not know why he is so or why he does what he does This is why Cunningham s story works so well it gives voice to someone who did not have one before and unexpectedly flips the tables on morality of the characters Rumpelstiltskin becomes a sympathetic character and very believably so and his portrayal as of a being filled with deep sadness and loneliness consumed by deep longing for a child is touching and memor I spotted this slim book while browsing the new shelves of the library one evening I feel drawn to etellings of fairy tales though so many end up disappo. S broken the apturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly ealized or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store buying smokes and a Slim Jim his devouring smile aimed at the cashier A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother's basement to getting a job until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans Reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation our bedtime stories been this dark this pe. Inting me Because I enjoy Cunningham s writing I didn t think twice about checking out this bookI wasn t excited about any of the stories didn t think twice about checking out this bookI wasn t excited about any of the stories I got to the seventh out of eleven the story titled Little Man Rumpelstiltskin easily my favorite which has a perfect eason to use second person narration With it Cunningham does one of the things I feel a etelling should do ie get inside the head of a character we haven t heard from before Its ending one fairly long paragraph was so exuisite drawing our attention to how someone like him in eal life could turn into the PERSON HE HAS BECOME THAT I he has become that I it several times The next story Steadfast Tin is another that used a twisting of the genre effectively bringing the story into elevance to a modern day couple while cleverly filling in the eader who might not be familiar with the HC Andersen tale of The Steadfast Tin Soldier The story after that Beasts frustrated me with its standard etelling of Beauty and the Beast until I arrived at the ending and the eason for it all became clear I had been as seduced as Beauty wasI should also mention A Cunningham presents some new spins on beloved classics with this short collection of etellings updates and continuations of folk and fairy tales for adults There s some fun and provocative stuff here crazy cat ladies who build gingerbread houses ne er do wells and their beanstalks closet necrophiliacs who wake sleeping princesses Most are worthy of three stars with a few fivers scattered about I truly love the last tale an original offering about how we can make our own fairy tales come true by noticing the magic in our every day lives At least that s what I thought it was about The illustrations by Yuko Shimizu are truly lovely Not the usual type of book I ead but am willing to try anything written by this author To my surprise I enjoyed it very much Taking many of our beloved fairytale and giving them a very inventive modern twist was pure entertainment Many were extremely amusing so very clever But while Cunningham s wit and originality were in fine display I missed his ingenious plots and his expansiveness that is adeuately displayed in his novels Still very entertaining a uick ead that was than worth my time. Rverse or this trueProgram contains music composed specifically very entertaining a uick ead that was than worth my time. Rverse or this trueProgram contains music composed specifically the audiobook by Billy Hough and his bandmates in GarageDogs Billy Hough says The original piece 'A Wild Swan' was written as a gift to Michael due to my incredibly strong eaction to hearing these beautiful stories for the first time I enlisted the brilliant Lili Taylor to alternate the stories with me and wrote a series of short pieces of music for their eventual inclusion on this album I wanted to use the music to illustrate the tension between the ancient and the modern much in the same way Michael has done in the stories themselve.

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