Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer: Expanded Edition by Tanith Lee

Stop! Do not run away from this unfortunate cover! There's a fine book hidden inside! That is one of the most unfortunate covers in my recent memory.

Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer: Expanded Edition by Tanith Lee was finally released in ebook format last year and I missed it! My wish list for ebook reprints is growing steadily shorter!

The original editions had covers that looked like this:


Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer: Expanded Edition by Tanith Lee is a must read and own for fairy tale fans. I think if it had stayed in print more readily over the years it may have been discussed academically nearly as often as Angela Carter. No one's going to beat Carter in academic hearts but Lee has the power to offer strong alternatives. Now that is in ebook, hopefully it won't leave print again.

This anthology is where you can find Lee's short story, "Beauty," long considered by fans and many scholars to be one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings around.

Don't just take my word for it. Another fan of the story is Jerry Griswold. He discussed and identified it as one of his favorite retellings of the tale in his The Meanings of "Beauty & The Beast" A Handbook. The story is also reprinted in Griswold's book so you can own it there, too, but all of Lee's stories are worth a read.

I agree with Griswold that Lee's "Beauty" is an amazing rendition of the story and has been on my short list of favorites since I first read it years ago. I had a xeroxed copy of the story for years before I was finally able to buy a used copy of the collection thanks to the internet. Yes, I read the story long before I ever dreamed up this SurLaLune bit of mine, a library edition that I couldn't check out indefinitely as much as I wanted to.

Tanith Lee died earlier this year, too early due to cancer, but she should always be remembered for her body of work, from which this anthology is my personal favorite.

According to Wikipedia back in 2012:

Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer is a short story collection of dark fantasy retellings of popular fairytales by British author Tanith Lee. Contrary to what the title may suggest, it not only includes retellings of fairytales by the Brothers Grimm, but also by Charles Perrault, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve or Alexander Afanasyev. The title story was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. This collection was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award.
Book description for new ebook edition:

What if Snow White were the real villain and the "wicked queen" just a sadly maligned innocent? What if awakening Sleeping Beauty would be the mistake of a lifetime -- of several lifetimes? What if the famous folk tales were retold with an eye to more horrific possibilities? Only Tanith Lee -- "Goddess-Empress of the Hot Read" (Village Voice) could retell the world-famous tales of the Brothers Grimm (and others) as they might have been told by the Sisters Grimmer! This special edition, put together for the 30th anniversary of the original edition, adds a new Grimmer fairy tale written especially for this volume!

Table of Contents:

1.Paid Piper- Asia: The Last Century B.C. (retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin)
2.Red as Blood- Europe: The Fourteenth Century (retelling of Snow White)
3.Thorns- Eurasia: The Fifteenth Century (retelling of Sleeping Beauty)
4.When The Clock Strikes- Europe: The Sixteenth Century (retelling of Cinderella)
5.The Golden Rope- Europe: The Seventeenth Century (retelling of Rapunzel)
6.The Princess And Her Future- Asia: The Eighteenth Century (retelling of The Frog Princess)
7.Wolfland- Scandinavia: The Nineteenth Century (retelling of Little Red Riding Hood)
8.Black As Ink- Scandinavia: The Twentieth Century (retelling of The White Duck)
9.Beauty- Earth: The Future (retelling of Beauty and the Beast)
10. The Waters of Sorrow *NEW TO THIS EDITION*

1 comment:

  1. Ha, that really is an unfortunate cover! Really does not reflect the quality of writing! I wholeheartedly agree about it being an excellent book, and her "Beauty" has been my favorite short story version of BATB for years