Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

Widely praised and widely read, Elizabeth Hand is regarded as one of America's leading literary fantasists. This new collection (an expansion of the limited-release Bibliomancy, which won the World Fantasy Award in 2005) showcases a wildly inventive author at the height of her powers. Included in this collection are "The Least Trumps," in which a lonely women reaches out to the world through symbols, tattooing, and the Tarot, and "Pavane for a Prince of the Air," where neo-pagan rituals bring a recently departed ...
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Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories

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Overview

Widely praised and widely read, Elizabeth Hand is regarded as one of America's leading literary fantasists. This new collection (an expansion of the limited-release Bibliomancy, which won the World Fantasy Award in 2005) showcases a wildly inventive author at the height of her powers. Included in this collection are "The Least Trumps," in which a lonely women reaches out to the world through symbols, tattooing, and the Tarot, and "Pavane for a Prince of the Air," where neo-pagan rituals bring a recently departed soul to something very different than eternal rest. Written in the author's characteristic poetic prose and rich with the details of traumatic lives that are luminously transformed, Saffron and Brimstone is a worthy addition to an outstanding career.
* Elizabeth Hand's work has been selected as a Washington Post Notable Book and a New York Times Notable Book, and she has been awarded a Nebula Award and two World Fantasy Awards.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lovely and unsettling, these eight stories by Hand (Maze of Deception) give a sensual and apocalyptic perspective on modern society, with art, death, and sex all swirled together. Lines between human and animal, past and future, and imagination and action become blurred, as in "Cleopatra Brimstone," in which a young entomologist finds that she may have some traits in common with her research subjects, or as in "The Least Trumps," in which a tattoo artist discovers a mysterious deck of tarot cards that may be able to alter reality. The stories are beautifully crafted but are not simply an exercise in style-they reveal deeper themes and connections, echoing one another in subtle ways that enhance the collection as a whole. Hand is often classed as a fantasy writer, but this book also belongs in literary fiction collections. Highly recommended for larger libraries. [This is an expansion of the limited U.K. release Bibliomancy, which won the World Fantasy Award in 2005.-Ed.]-Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Myth and magic are the ingredients assembled to sometimes stunning effect in this vivid gathering of previously collected and recently published stories from the award-winning fantasy author. Brandishing the lush descriptive prose that energized such critically acclaimed novels as Waking the Moon (1995) and Mortal Love (2004), Hand conflates reality with dream and disorientation, the physical world with realms visited in memory and imagination. In "Wonderwall," a former substance-abusing college dropout and wannabe writer reflects on her defiantly wasted youth; the doomed figure of a fellow drama-student soulmate "who was waiting to be discovered" and instead discovered his own frail mortality; and a nightmarish envisioning of a catastrophic near-future defined by environmental disaster and the AIDS pandemic. Two brief stories grounded in Greek mythology articulate the rueful observation that "Always, somewhere a woman waits alone for news." That archetypal sorrowing figure assumes the forms of the eponymous nymph "Echo," pining for Narkissos while subsisting on a remote Maine island, and the title temptress of "Calypso in Berlin," who has learned from her betrayal by Odysseus how to manage her restless lovers. More precisely contemporary themes are addressed in the vacillating post-9/11 love story ("Kronia") and the eerie tale ("The Saffron Gatherers") of a woman writer and all-purpose intellectual whose longtime bicoastal romance falls victim to the future shock she had feared, and perhaps imagined into being. The volume also includes three novellas from Hand's 2003 limited-edition collection Bibliomancy: a plaintive account of preparations for the pagan burial ceremony for itsnarrator's lifelong friend ("Pavane for a Prince of the Air"); the story of a rejected daughter's self-healing through the art of tattooing and the energy of Tarot cards ("The Least Trumps"); and a kick-ass horror story about a lonely lepidopterist's absorption into the only world that appears to want her ("Cleopatra Brimstone"). Some redundancy and sketchiness are only slight blemishes in another rich display of this gifted visionary's enticing wares.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781621154457
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 417,935
  • File size: 597 KB

Meet the Author


Elizabeth Hand (b. 1957) is an award-winning author whose science fiction and fantasy novels include the Winterlong series, Waking the Moon, Last Summer at Mars Hill, and Glimmering. Her novels and short stories have won the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson awards, among others. Hand was born in California and raised in Yonkers and Pound Ridge, New York; she now divides her time between London and the coast of Maine. Over the years she has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, among many others.
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Table of Contents


Cleopatra Brimstone     1
Pavane for a Prince of the Air     62
The Least Trumps     95
Wonderwall     159
The Lost Domain: Four Story Variations
Kronia     183
Calypso in Berlin     188
Echo     208
The Saffron Gatherers     219
Afterword     239
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2014

    Elizabeth Hand has been described as "one of the most poeti

    Elizabeth Hand has been described as "one of the most poetic writers working in speculative fiction and horror today," and, based on her work in Saffron and Brimstone, that is a well-deserved compliment. "Poetic" is exactly the word I would use for Hand's writing. With the exception of "Wonderwall," which simply did not resonate with me at all, the stories in this collection are a delicious combination of the sublime (the butterfly imagery of "Cleopatra Brimstone") and the surreal (the changing realities of "The Least Trumps"). The book concludes with the four mesmerizing "story variations" which comprise "The Last Domain," Hand's wide-ranging and emotionally haunting riff on Greek mythology, from Odysseus to Narcissus. I highly recommend Saffron and Brimstone, particularly to short story fans and those who like their horror subtle, not gory.

    I received a free copy of Saffron and Brimstone through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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