Next week, on March 13, I’ll be hitting the bookstore to pick up The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror, by Mallory Ortberg. The Merry Spinster is a collection of short stories, twists on classic fairy tales. They have been described as mischievous, terrifying, funny, and feminist. I think everyone has been hearing about this book for a long time. I know I have. Though I’m largely unfamiliar with the author (I wasn’t fortunate enough to have caught Ortberg’s website The Toast — which was popular for retellings of classic stories — during its brief lifespan), I am excited about this book’s possibilities. Ortberg has a reputation for being fearless, funny, and emotionally honest.
I’m excited to read it for several reasons. I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately. As a fiction writer I am always, on some level, deconstructing and learning what makes a story work. I have a particular interest in how a writer can move readers in a limited number of words (writers of flash-fiction are both fascinating and mysterious to me). I also have a nostalgic fondness for fairy tales, and an awareness of how antiquated the messages in fairy tales tend to be. That’s why I read every modern retelling of fairy tales that I can get my hands on.
I’m also a fan of all things twisted and scary. This book promises a generous helping of horror. Given many classic fairy tales are horrific on their own (I only recently learned of the original ending to Cinderella, and the original Sleeping Beauty will give you nightmares), I look forward to seeing if it lives up to the expectation.
All of this is enough. Add in the fact that the tales are told from a feminist perspective, and I am well and truly sold.
Leave me a comment if you’re looking forward to reading The Merry Spinster, if you are one of the fortunate few who read an advance copy, if you know the author. And especially if you have recommendation of gems within this genre.
Or just let me know what you’re reading today.
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror
By: Mallory Ortberg
Expected publication: March 13th 2018 by Holt Paperbacks