Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ladies of Grace Adieu

I thought about writing this review in a full Regency novel style, in keeping with Susannah Clarke's fairy-tales-meet-Jane-Austen collection of short stories, but that would be a parody of a homage and I think that might be a literary version of crossing the streams in Ghostbusters. I could either destroy the Stay-Puft marshmallow man of fiction or kill us all in a dangerous feedback loop. These things worry me. Plus somebody had already done it on LibraryThing, much better than I could.

If you've read "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" you'll know what to expect here: fairy tales where the fairies aren't particularly nice. While they might live at the bottom of your garden there's a good chance they'll steal your children, husband, shiny things, etc. This is a collection of short stories, so if you were interested in Strange & Norrell but were put off by the 800 page investment of time (you lightweight, where's your stamina?) then this might be a gentler introduction to Clarke's wonderfully realised alternative 19th century. Certainly easier to carry anyway.

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