Redder Than Blood

Tanith Lee. DAW, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1251-7
This collection of 19 stories, three never before published, showcases Lee’s unparalleled talent for recasting classic fairy tales as fables of modern relationships. “The Reason for Not Going to the Ball” is presented as a letter from Cinderella’s stepmother explaining that her efforts to prevent Cinderella from meeting with her prince were to save her from the unfaithful marriage that followed. The young heroine of “Kiss, Kiss” becomes so enamored of her devoted frog friend that she regrets the kiss that turns him into a handsome prince. “Wolfed” retells “Little Red Riding Hood” as a cross-dressing ménage a trois. “The Beast and Beauty” inverts the traditional roles of “Beauty and the Beast” to gauge the reactions of friends to a handsome husband’s incomprehensible love for his homely wife. Lee (1947–2015) had a brilliant grasp of fairy tale dynamics, which is evident in the skill with which she subverts them; in an ironic riff on “Rapunzel,” she writes, “The next day dawned bright as any cliché.” This book will appeal to fans of Lee’s richly imagined fantasy fiction as well as to lovers of fairy and folk tales. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/15/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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