How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

by Jane Yolen


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616963064
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 11/05/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 114,085
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Beloved fantasy legend Jane Yolen published her 365th book in 2018. Her work includes children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Her publications include Owl Moon , The Devil’s Arithmetic , Briar Rose , Sister Emily’s Starship , The Emerald Circus , and Sister Light, Sister Dark. Among her many honors are the Caldecott and Christopher Medals, multiple Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Golden Kite, and Jewish Book awards; as well as the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award. Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She lives in Western Massachusetts and St. Andrew, Scotland.

Table of Contents

“Snow in Summer”
“The Bridge’s Complaint”
“The Moon Ribbon”
“Godmother Death”
“Happy Dens or A Day in the Old Wolves’ Home”
“Granny Rumple”
“One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King”
“Brother Hart”
“Slipping Sideways Through Eternity”
“The Foxwife”
“The Faery Flag”
“One Old Man, with Seals”
“Sleeping Ugly”
“The Undine”
“Great-Grandfather Dragon’s Tale”
“Green Plague”
“The Unicorn and the Pool”
“The Golden Balls”
“Sister Death”
“Sule Skerry”
“Once A Good Man”
“The Gwynhfar”
“Cinder Elephant”
“Mama Gone”
“The Woman Who Loved A Bear”
“Wrestling with Angels”

“The Thing About Fairy Tales” / “Prince Ever After” / “Troll Maiden on the Bridge” / “Learning from Those Other Princesses” / “Stone Hand in Stone Hand: Norvelt Cemetery” / “Once Upon A Wolf” / “Spinning Straw” / “‘Story,’” the Old Man Said” / “Green Children” / “Icarus Fall” / “Ovens” / “Foxwife” / “Carrying the Flag of Faery” / “On Meeting A God” / “Old Woman by the Well” / “Warning from the Undine” / “St. George’s Sword and Word” / “To Be Paid” / “Rhinoceros” / “Frog Meet Princess” / “The Keening Woman” / “When I Was A Selchie” / “What Do We Need of Heaven” / “Cinderella in the Ashes” / “Not That Princess”
Cinder Elephant / “Fat Is Not A Fairy Tale” / “The Vampire Regrets” / “Marrying the Bear” / “Jacob’s Regret”

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How to Fracture a Fairy Tale 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Isabelle_Rodriguez 19 hours ago
So I want to say that I have very two, very different, feelings about this book. One is kind of positive and the other is negative. So I'll go ahead and get the negative out of the way. The biggest problem I had with all these short stories is how they really didn't affect me. Yolen focuses so much on the different ways a fairytale could be shaped but not focus on the way it lingers. Thinking about my own experiences with fairytales, I focus on the way the stories lingered in my mind. How even after the book has closed I can't take my mind off of it. Fairytales have the uncanny ability to grab and keep your attention as you read it, and I feel retellings must capture this as well. But Yolen's stories missed this key aspect. Going through the book I was either bored or uninterested by the stories. I didn't fall in love with them the way you're supposed to with a fairytale. In short, I felt the stories needed more imagination and spectacle. While I didn't like the stories, I totally respect what Yolen was doing with this collection. Together, the stories show how flexible fairytales are. How they can be stretched and twisted yet still have the same heart (meaning/point) beating at the center.
alyssama121 21 hours ago
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* I was drawn to this book, because I love Jane Yolen and will always go for the chance to read some of her fairy tales. She has the ability to create such unique perspectives in stories that I just couldn’t pass it up. My favorite “fractured fairy tales” in this collection include: a Rumplestiltskin retelling, a Three Billy Goats Gruff retelling from the perspective of the bridge, and a story about Death. This collection includes stories with poems to go with them and a brief description of Yolen’s process for fracturing and reworking the story for herself. I really liked learning the background and history of some of these stories, so I found this fascinating and well worth the read. Anyone who is interested in the writing process will enjoy these additions. However, I did find myself enjoying the stories much more than the poems, but the poems were short enough and fairly interesting that they weren’t a great detractor of my enjoyment of the collection overall. What I most appreciated is how Yolen reworked some of these stories to relate to today’s world, and others are just timeless. I found each story to be moving and speak to something universal about our world, which is what fairy tales, at the end of the day, are supposed to be for. As usual with short story collections, some stories spoke to me more than others, but there wasn’t any story that I felt was a letdown; I enjoyed them all. I highly recommend How to Fracture a Fairy Tale to any fan of fairy tales, but I especially see a lot of value in using this as a teaching tool for writing and studying fairy tales.
JennaBookish 1 days ago
I have mixed feelings about this anthology, making it difficult to give it an overall rating that feels accurate. There were a few stories that I really enjoyed, but a few too many that never sufficiently grabbed my interest. I love fractured fairy tales, and think I was looking for more drastic changes from the original source material in some cases. What's the point of writing a retelling without turning the whole story upside-down and making us think about it in a totally new light? One thing that I loved about this collection was the sheer variety of stories and cultures represented. This anthology includes dragons, princesses, a vampire, and even time travel; you will find stories that feel like they could have been plucked out of a Brothers Grimm book as well as much more modern tales. The Jewish themes seemed to be the most prominent throughout the anthology, but Yolen has reworked tales from Europe, Asia, and more. Here is a small sampling of the sources of inspiration for some of Yolen's stories: The Bridge's Complaint - Billy Goats Gruff, Norwegian One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King - Chinese dragon stories Brother Hart - Brothers Grimm story (Little Brother Little Sister) Sun/Flight - Icarus, Greek Mythology The Foxwife - figure from Japanese folklore The Faery Flag - Scottish folklore One Old Man, With Seals - Greek mythology The Undine - inspired by Little Mermaid and various French stories Sister Death - Jewish myth The Woman Who Loved a Bear - Native American myth The stories vary quite a bit in tone; many of them use somewhat antiquated language, while the occasional tale reads like something a friend is telling you over coffee. These differences helped to break up the anthology and keep it from feeling overly uniform or repetitive. The variety assures that there will be something in this collection for just about everyone. Whether you're looking for something totally re-imagined, something with a classical feel, something whimsical, or something dark, you'll find it somewhere in these pages.
Tiffany Lyann 3 days ago
I have to start with the forward (introduction). Meyers is a Queen in her own right, and reading her intro to the stories was a pleasant, easy read that made me even more eager to jump into the collection. Over all, I really enjoyed the collection. Yolen's stories were well thought out. It was a collection of stories, most easily identifiable, with each story not exactly as it should be. I expected each story to be based on a different tale, much like a typical collection of fairy tales, but that is not the case. While there truly are about a thousand different ways you can spin the story of Cinderella, the repetitive nature of those types of stories did bog down the global feel of the book. Several times I felt like I was reading something I'd already read, simply because the basis was the same. This could be because I read them all in one sitting. Maybe if broken up over the course of a few days, it would not have seemed redundant. ALL THAT ASIDE.... These stories. WOW. The original ideas were flowing, the metaphors were strong, and the puns -- yes I picked up on puns -- were spot on. Yolen took tales that we thought we knew and shed new light onto them. From a stepmother swallow up by the earth, to a Godmother that decided who lived and who died - there is literally something for everyone. The characters were well written and dynamic, even in such a short amount of characters. Each story created it's own world, a distinct place - different from the last. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. Each story gave me a shred of hope, and many yanked that hope and drug it deep down into the belly of hell. I could not get enough of this collection, and I was telling people about specific stories (Particularly Godmother Death) for weeks afterwards. Yolen's brilliant use of analog and world building left me breathless, and some times in awe of the investment I'd made in such a short time. While I have read some complaints of works going over reader's heads, I found that not as true for me. There were some that really made me think about what Yolen was saying, but over all - I felt like the stories connected solidly. I loved that there was an index of notes about each story in the back of the book. This was immensely helpful when sorting out my own feelings about each story. I give this collection a 4/5 stars! I did not care for the repetition, and I do want to warn people that it is not sunshine and rainbows. Some of this is dark, and twisted. But, if this is your thing **It's totally mine!**, then dive in and enjoy!!
Magerber 6 days ago
I love listening to cover songs. Sure there are a lot of really crappy versions where the singer is simply mimicking the sound and stylistic flourishes of the original artist, but I am talking about cover songs where the new artist brings a reinterpretation to a familiar piece of music, and makes me hear that classic song in a completely new way. For just the same reason, I love reading retellings of classic novels or fairy tales. I love comparing my knowledge and memories about the original with the new interpretation and understanding that I find in a successful reworking. And finding this book on NetGalley has been like stumbling upon a treasure chest for me. Jane Yolen’s How to Fracture a Fairy Tale is a collection of short stories that are reinterpretations of folk tales and fairy tales from a large variety of traditions. She resells classic fairy tales from Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, Native American stories, Greek Mythology, Japanese folk tales, Celtic mythology and more. And I found each and every story different in tone, in style and from a different point of view, both from the original and from each other. The last chapter of the book is an explanation about how she came to create each of these stories, accompanied by a poem she wrote for each one. It was only after reading this chapter that I understood that this book is a collection of stories taken from her 50 year writing career. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to seek out her other work. I received an advanced reading copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
ruthsic 7 days ago
This collection of fairytale retellings had a common thread of 'fracturing' stories, and all of them have been published elsewhere earlier. Some of them are easily recognizable for sources in European fairytales, like Snow White, Cinderella, another a Snow White-Cinderella mash-up, a couple have been changed to make events allegorical while other have been changed to make the metaphorical into the literal. There is, however, the little problem that when you look at the book at a whole, it is disparate in terms of tone, settings, themes and even sources. Some stories have a middle grade like writing, other more suitable to adult fiction, some have silly and exaggerated stories, while others are darker in nature and fraught with hidden meanings; I know it is because each of them were written for some other themed anthology, but putting it all together here felt very distorted. You can go from a cute story about a fat Cinderella to a time travel one involving concentration camps, and as an anthology it feels hastily put together. Additionally, the author notes and poems for each story setting came at the end of the novel, when it would have been better to follow the story. Even on the most basic question of whether I enjoyed reading this anthology or not? I would say it mostly bored me; at one point, I just wanted it to end. That's not to say there aren't brilliant stories in there; there were more than a few that I felt were superb if I judged them as standalones, like the retelling of St George and the dragon, or the Rumpelstiltskin retelling (although, I feel Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik does it better), or the Proteus-inspired one, but there are also many that, well, sucked. A lot of them didn't really challenge the sources, and still kept a lot of the misogynistic tones of the stories in place (this may be me spoiled on recent anthologies that have featured diverse characters, feminist themes, and all) when there were good opportunities to subvert them. Also, and this is a very minor point, I was irked by the misspellings of nogitsune and Sidhe as nogitsone and Sithe respectively. Overall - some individual stories stand out but the book as a whole feels chaotic and vague.
cyndecat1 7 days ago
This is a stunning collection of fairytales that are slightly or sometimes monstrously twisted. fractured totally changed in intent and content to the brilliant pen of Jane Yolen. A chapter at the end features an author's note and poem for each tale often explaining how the tale was fractured.The book is full of tales from around the world some familiar others not so much but all enchanting. A fun read!!!! Great as bedtime stories for adults. Thanks to Netgalley for the free e copy in exchange for my honest review.
BentNeedle 7 days ago
First of all, I'm a complete sucker for fairy tale retellings. All the more when they aren't your typical, prince-rescues-princess-and-they-live-happily-ever-after type stories. I love a good twist and a dark underside to fairy tales (which, if you read a lot of the ORIGINALS...was often the case!). When I saw this book was a collection of short retellings I immediately requested it and was absolutely delighted to receive it just a few days before it came out! It's now available and totally worth checking out. :) Also, apparently Jane Yolen is something of a MG/YA fantasy scion...and I had never heard of her. Ever. Never read any of her books, didn't have any of them on my TBR. The Stories How to Fracture a Fairy Tale contains tales from many different countries. Some of them I recognized, some of them I did not. They were all interesting and most of them entertaining! Some of them were funny, like one of the two Cinderella shorts. A couple raised the hairs on the back of my neck (most specifically the very last one in the book, "Wrestling With Angels." My favorite of all the tales though, was "Great-Grandfather Dragon's Tale," which is a cute and funny remake of Saint George and the Dragon. A few of the tales are most definitely only suited to a YA or older audience, as they contain heavy implications of sexual assault or rape if they don't state it outright. I was a bit startled by these, to be honest, as they don't really seem to fit in with the overall tone of the book...but then, the collection is very random. The author has included, in the last section of the book, an explanation for why she told each tale the way she did, as well as given a poem for each. It is extremely fascinating, but I think due to the randomness as well as the content of this particular section, a lot of younger readers will lose interest and probably only read the stories - which are the important part, anyway! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free review copy in exchange for an honest review!
sspea 8 days ago
This book was a fresh take on classic fairy tales (three punk pigs), but also included original stories. The stories were thought provoking and interesting. The end of the book was really interesting when the Author described the thought behind her "fractures" While this book was really fun I did recently read a book with the same premise, and I couldn't help but compare the two while I was reading. While I know that this was not fair to this book, nor its author, it was inevitable and unfortunately this book fell a little short. I still really enjoyed it, I loved the cover art, and would still recommend this book to friends
MargoKelly 9 days ago
The title alone caught my attention, and then when I saw that this book was written by Jane Yolen, I knew I had to read it! In an introduction by Marissa Meyer, she writes, "There is a history of tales told and retold that spans centuries--even millennia--and reaches to all corners of the globe." How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, by Jane Yolen, is a collection of short stories and poems based on familiar fairy tales--but altered in fun, creepy, and imaginative ways. Yolen explains, "A fracture is a break . . . [it] can hurt like a sprain or reveal like a geode being split apart to show the jewels within." Yolen takes well-known fairy tales and splits them apart, sometimes leaving them still quite familiar and other times shining a light from an unfamiliar angle to reveal new truths and possibilities. This collection is a perfect choice to read when you have only a few minutes at a time to devote to the book. Read it while you're waiting at the doctor's office, or waiting in line to pick up your kids, or waiting anywhere! Some of my favorite lines from the book: "I felled her with a single blow of the fry pan." "Of course he had the big bran-muffin eyes and the sled-jump nose and the gingko-leaf ears that identify a troll immediately." "Instead she floated like a swan and the river bore her on." [I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]
469480 10 days ago
"How to Fracture a Fairy Tale" is a microcosm of the numerous folktales the author, Jane Yolen, has written throughout her career. Everyone has heard and/or read at least one of her folktales without realizing they were written by her. Jane Yolen's variants of folktales are just as enjoyable as the "classic variants" such as "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Hansel & Gretel," "The Little Mermaid," "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," etc. Fairy tales are one of the original methods of storytelling. Since people began telling each other stories, some parts of each story were kept for substance and the rest were changed in favor of both the storyteller and the audience. Think of how each country/region has its variant of "Cinderella." And, how many cartoons had "fractured" fairy tales within an episode for the audience's entertainment? "How to Fracture a Fairy Tale" consists of "fractured" folktales you may or may not have heard or read as a child by Jane Yolen. Reading different variants of the familiar, but altered tales rekindled my enjoyment for folktales and reminded me as to why I continue to enjoy them. For me, reading "Sleeping Ugly" as an adult brought back memories of when I first heard the tale as a child. The "explanation" of how the author has been able to write so many new tales from the older ones, which is after the Introduction and before the selection of tales, is worth reading as well because it provides insight as to how others such as Robin McKinley, Rick Riordan, and Disney fracture and retell these older tales. This collection of tales can be enjoyed by readers of all ages due to its familiarity. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sunshine1006 10 days ago
Loved this book. Give the author a fairy tale and she can definitely fracture it. I loved all the stories, but Godmother Death was my favorite one. Great collection of stories. New take on old fairy tales. Great book. I received this book from Net Galley and Tachyon Publications for a honest review and no compensation otherwise.
CaptainsQuarters 10 days ago
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this short story collection eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . While I have read many of Jane Yolen's works, most have been her novels.  It has only been recently that I have been reading her short stories.  This collection has 28 varied tales.  In addition, the end of the book has author reflections on how the stories came to be along with some of her poetry. This collection didn't resonate with me as much as the emerald circus collection did.  I only loved about half of them.  The others not so much even though I could appreciate the skill of the writing.  I will try to give ye an idea of the bare bones and thoughts on me favourites: "Snow in Summer" - a Snow White retelling with a fantastic answer to what happens to the evil queen. "The Moon Ribbon" - this one has a bit of Cinderella (which I know) and a bit of The Princess and the Goblin (which I don't).  It was weird but I rather liked it. "One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King" - this was the seventh story in the collection and the first one I really loved.  It tells the story of dragons from a Eastern perspective but with a Western solution. "Brother Hart" - this tale was apparently based on the Russian/ Grimm story of Little Brother, Little Sister.  I am not familiar with that tale at all but I loved this story.  It deals with transformations and loving sibling relationships. "Sun/Flight" - a tale based on the Icarus myth.  I didn't love it but I found it oddly beguiling and interesting. "Slipping Sideways Through Eternity" - this is a story about a girl who goes back in time to the Holocaust with the help of Elijah.  Powerful and compelling" "The Foxwife" - this story features a kitsune.  Ever since I read shadow of the fox, I have loved takes on the kitsune Japanese folk tales.  Yolen also recommend foxwife by Kij Johnson.  I will have to check that one out. "The Faery Flag" - this is based around the Faery Flag legend of Scotland about the McLeods on the Isle of Skye.  I got tired of faery stories a while back.  This was a breath of fresh air. "One Old Man, with Seals" - this one is based on the Greek shapeshifter, Proteus but set in 20th century America.  It has a lighthouse and the sea.  Awesome! "Sleeping Ugly" - an absolutely lovely fracturing of Sleeping Beauty.  The ending! "Green Plague" - a fun mix of frogs and the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Silly and fun. "The Unicorn and the Pool" - it has an unicorn!  Short and bittersweet. "Sule Skerry" - this is a tale of selchies of the Scottish Islands inspired by the song "The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry."  Lovely. "Cinder Elephant" - another Cinderella retelling where our protagonist is overweight and a bird watcher.  This was a lovely, wonderful tale.  The poem and description about writing this tale was absolutely fabulous as well.  I think this was me favourite. "Mama Gone" - a fairy tale about vampires that is both sad and sweet.  Seriously. I be very grateful to have a chance to read these stories.  While I didn't love every story, I do have a few new favourites of hers.  Arrrr! So lastly . . . Thank you Tachyon Publications!