Echoes

Laura Dockrill. HarperCollins U.K. (IPG, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-00-730129-4
Dockrill (Ugly Shy Girl) frappés fairy tales and other traditional stories into a no-holds-barred mix of blood, lust, dirt, and mordant humor in this relentlessly carnal tour de force. Poetry, prose, and the author’s deliberately rough-edged illustrations are alternately horrifying and electrifying, disgusting and sickly amusing, and definitely not for children or the weak of stomach. Dockrill is fearless in extending the casual bloodthirstiness of children’s stories such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood” into the entirely adult realm of gritty poverty, brutality, and sexuality in rewrites such as “The Melting Lady” and “Woolf” while exploring the intimate bodily horrors of weight loss in “Gutted” and the traditional ghost stories of children’s campfires in “Oh, You’ll Never Get to Heaven.” Interspersed poems—the blithe serial murder of “Gherkins,” the unexpectedly delicate tragicomedy of “Cowboy”—enhance this refreshing modern take on the unexpurgated pre-Victorian style of storytelling. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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