Angel Maker

Overview

Though Sara Maitland's interests are as varied as the people who inhabit her stories, there is a common theme to this work that extols risk taking over safety. Acrobats, women warriors, a girl who wants to become a garden, a long-distance runner, housewives and mothers, and a reformed sixteenth-century conquistador are among the characters revealed in this collection. Familiar names from literature - Gretel, Eurydice of the green fields, the shepherd Prince Endymion, Lady Artemis - commingle with contemporary ...
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0805055290

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New PAPERBACK, clean tight white pages with sharp corners ~ 0811 GIFT QUALITY.

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1998 Trade paperback New New. No dust jacket as issued. Brand new. Never read or owned. May have a remainder mark.

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Overview

Though Sara Maitland's interests are as varied as the people who inhabit her stories, there is a common theme to this work that extols risk taking over safety. Acrobats, women warriors, a girl who wants to become a garden, a long-distance runner, housewives and mothers, and a reformed sixteenth-century conquistador are among the characters revealed in this collection. Familiar names from literature - Gretel, Eurydice of the green fields, the shepherd Prince Endymion, Lady Artemis - commingle with contemporary characters called David, Meg, and Liz, who desperately seek love and fulfillment and frequently have babies when they can't get what they want. Close by is the echo of Mary Magdalene, teaching us about endurance and perseverance in a voice rich with the experiences of the sex object and the "true-love dichotomy."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A woman obsessed with food devours her own plump and tasty baby. A young girl denounces her mother as a witch, then watches her writhe in pain as she burns at the stake. Whether she's dissecting failed relationships, condemning the oppression of women through the ages or recasting classical myths, Maitland (Ancestral Truths) has an undisguised penchant for the dark underside of life. Feminism, mysticism, guilt, confusion and, above all, an abiding love of creepyeven repulsivedetails propel the 30 stories in this ambitious but uneven collection. Moody, murky, sometimes oppressive, many of the narratives read like imaginative vocal exercises in which the author explores a character (the wicked old crone of "Hansel and Gretel" fame; a 16th-century conquistador; a magician's abused assistant) by assuming his or her point of view and seeing how far she can take it. The more successful stories offer surprising narrative twists; others remain core samples of particular emotional states. Anything is possible in Maitland's weird world: sirens, dwarves, transvestites, talking seals and princesses make regular appearances amidst recipes for baked apples, tips on how to recognize a true fag hag, even a brief disquisition on the moons of Neptune. The results may range in quality, but Maitland's reach is breathtaking, her prose as liquid and potent as a witch's brew. Rights, other than electronic: A.P. Watt. (Aug.)
Library Journal
This collection of 30 short stories about the lives of women is a tour de force. Set in disparate cultures and time periods, they include women of all ages and nationalities; some physically challenged either by birth or victimization. Oppression is a common theme; and the women emerge as heroines. If they aren't strong and self-aware initially, they become so. There is a transcendent sense of love and sisterhood in these pages that is gratifying. For instance, in "Siren Song," we learn the sirens lure sailors to their deaths in revenge for a man's mistreatment of a young maiden. Maitland (A Big-Enough God, LJ 9/15/95) describes her stories in exquisite detail, and her writing flows beautifully. Recommended for public libraries.Kimberly G. Allen, MCI Corporate Information Resources Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Kirkus Reviews
The metaphysics of feminism and the baroque influence of the late Angela Carter are weighty presences in this generally accomplished collection of 30 stories by British author Maitland (Ancestral Truths, 1994), etc.

A suave, amused narrative voice—sometimes first-person, sometimes omniscient, unafraid to address the reader directly—is a virtual constant in these witty, skillfully woven tales, whose variety and vitality are compromised chiefly by a recurring (and off-putting) impression of smugness. Several contemporary pieces, which tend to focus on women's erotic, marital, or maternal dilemmas, include "The Loveliness of the Long-Distance Runner," "The Eighth Planet," and the amusingly grisly "Apple Picking." The many stories inspired by history or legend are stronger, with several based on Greek myths, others on European folk tales: "Cassandra" explains how its title character received the "gift" of prophecy from her lover Apollo; the title piece presents the witch from "Hansel and Gretel" as a conscientious midwife and abortionist; and "The Wicked Stepmother's Lament" memorably justifies that character's mistreatment of Cinderella ("I just wanted her . . . to see that life is not all sweetness and light . . . that fairy godmothers are unreliable . . . and that even the most silvery of princes soon goes out hunting and fighting and drinking and whoring"). If Maitland's weaker tales display a jarring archness, her better ones may be said to succeed precisely because they embrace a variety of viewpoints and allow her readers room for choice among them. "An Edwardian Tableau," for example, which features superbly contrived period language, reveals the confusion of conflicting emotions in the suffragist movement. Even better is "The Burning Times," a complex and powerful portrayal of awakening lesbianism set in Europe during the Middle Ages and capped by a truly magnificent and disturbing final sentence.

Strong and challenging work from a highly skilled writer who, apart from a tendency toward argumentative stridency, may be counted among the best of her generation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805055290
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

Angel Maker 1
Siren Song 11
Flower Garden 21
The Lady Artemis 35
Lullaby for My Dyke and Her Cat 47
Conquistador 57
The Burning Times 69
An Edwardian Tableau 81
An Un-Romance 91
Forceps Delivery 101
Fag Hags: A Field Guide 111
The Tale of The Beautiful Princess Kalito 119
Maybe a Love Poem for My Friend 131
Heart Throb 133
Daphne 145
The Loveliness of the Long-Distance Runner 155
Better Safe than Sorry 165
The Eighth Planet 171
Triptych 183
Apple Picking 203
The Wicked Stepmother's Lament 221
Cassandra 229
The Tale of the Valiant Demoiselle 241
Seal-Self 267
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn 279
Andromeda 291
Dragon Dreams 301
A Fall from Grace 311
True North 323
"Let Us Now Praise Unknown Women and Our Mothers Who Begat Us" 331
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