cover image A Wild Swan and Other Tales

A Wild Swan and Other Tales

Michael Cunningham, read by Lili Taylor and Billy Hough. Macmillan Audio, 3 CDs, 3 hrs., $19.95 ISBN 978-1-4272-6221-9

Taylor and Hough dramatize these newfangled tales with youthful charm and subtle savagery, easily swinging from the author’s gentle humor into darker recesses. Cunningham meshes ancient tales with modern interpretations, offering psychological background for each of our bedtime familiars. He creates post fairy-tale scenarios and seeks answers to questions never asked: Why is Rumpelstiltskin so obsessed with the queen’s baby? What happens to Rumpelstiltskin after she names him? What is life like for the 11 swans revived as men? How does the 12th, the one-armed, one-winged ex-swan, handle his disability? Why is the wicked witch relieved to be shoved in the oven? Cunningham has created a new and wonderful way of bending our minds around the myths that loomed large in our childhoods, and Taylor and Hough do him justice. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover. (Nov.)