Blue Beyond Blue: Extraordinary Tales for Ordinary Dilemmas

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An exploration of contemporary family dynamics, moral conundrums, and romantic love through one of our oldest literary forms the fairy tale. "Inspired and barbed, Slater's fairy tales are irresistible." —Donna Seaman, Booklist
Mermaids, seal women, little girls born of eggs, old men born of prematurely aged parents, and other strange creatures populate award-winning author Lauren Slater's stories of magic, psychology, pain, and release. Slater depicts the modern-day ...

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Overview

An exploration of contemporary family dynamics, moral conundrums, and romantic love through one of our oldest literary forms the fairy tale. "Inspired and barbed, Slater's fairy tales are irresistible." —Donna Seaman, Booklist
Mermaids, seal women, little girls born of eggs, old men born of prematurely aged parents, and other strange creatures populate award-winning author Lauren Slater's stories of magic, psychology, pain, and release. Slater depicts the modern-day psycho-pharmaceutical industry and our ongoing obsession with chemically synthetic solutions, the staleness and surprises embedded in married erotic love, the conflicts in the mother-daughter bond, the universal struggle with dependency and addiction, and more. In addition, she explicitly and implicitly explores the value that fairy tales and fables still have in our culture as tools of healing and illumination.
"World-weary grown-ups will find Slater's tales delightfully wry" (Amanda Heller, Boston Sunday Globe) as she successfully combines her skills as a storyteller and her profound knowledge of psychology to create a bizarre world that is also hauntingly familiar. Daring and absurd, poignant and disturbing, these stories are beautifully written and will enchant and edify adult readers forever after.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In her latest book (after Opening Skinner's Box), psychologist Slater explores therapeutic themes through 16 original fairy tales. Featuring extraordinary characters-some of them spin-offs from classic tales (e.g., Snow White) who struggle with normal human needs for belonging and fulfillment-the stories range from the bizarre, with the commitment-phobic boyfriend who attracts women's dismembered body parts, to the melancholic, with the queen who relies on beautiful sounds in bottles for happiness. In attempting to appeal to therapists, readers, and writers alike, Slater produces an uneven collection. Some stories remain fixated on an overshadowing psychological issue, while others contain more developed characters, plot lines, and symbolism. The recreational reader who enjoys self-reflection will find the book engaging. For counseling professionals interested in using similar stories, libraries may also wish to purchase titles like Healing Plots: The Narrative Basis of Psychotherapy, edited by Amia Lieblich & others. Recommended for public and academic libraries serving a psychologically savvy population. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/05.]-Marianne Le, Everett Community Coll. Lib., WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Memoirist and psychologist Slater (Opening Skinner's Box, 2004, etc.) explores the fairy tale. Narrative psychotherapy, she explains in the introduction, is a technique first articulated in the 1980s. The idea is that you can do therapy through writing, not just talking. Indeed, when Slater finds her conversations with a patient stuck in small talk, she will ask him to write, which somehow helps both therapist and patient move to the next plane. She believes that fairy tales are especially useful in narrative psychotherapy; their stark images, iconic figures and deceptively simple prose allow the writer to distill. In her clinical practice, Slater has written fairy tales and asked her patients to finish or somehow play with them. She has also written fairy tales for herself, and includes 16 of them here. Some are new versions of classics; "Ruby Red," for example, retells the story of Snow White from the perspective of her stepmother-who is really her mother and a self-described "perimenopausal bitch." Other stories come wholly from Slater's imagination. In one, an over-the-hill mother gives birth to Charles Darwin; in another, a depressed queen finds her way from sadness to happiness. "Defenestration" charts subtle fissures and shifts in the marriage of an unnamed man and woman. Black-and-white illustrations reminiscent of old woodcuts encourage the sense that readers are delving into a familiar yet foreign world where anything might happen. Mermaids might enroll in prep school; longed-for daughters might hatch out of eggs. The text resonates throughout with Slater's hallmark themes: motherhood, illness, puberty, defining and holding onto whatever it is that makes you really yourself.These curious stories will not be for everyone. But those willing to follow the author into the world of forests, myths and symbols will be richly rewarded. Strange, puzzling, yet somehow forcefully compelling.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393059595
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/20/2005
  • Pages: 211
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Slater is a psychologist and writer. She is the author of Opening Skinner's Box and Blue Beyond Blue, among other books. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2005

    Summer Redaing List

    This book is one to read for the summer. Short Stories are so good to read especially if your on your way to bed. This book hides the secret life of many women and men too. I'm glad I even picked it up. Each Short story is titled for the reader to become interested and continue to read. What's funny is, all the stories included one of the 7 sins that we committ everyday...

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