Dark side of story time

Oh, this is a delightful book! The stories are all adaptations, updates or retellings of classic folk and fairy tales, with attention to the underlying themes. Imagine Anne Sexton’s classic poetry collection, Transformations, in long form, with a steampunk version of The Little Mermaid or a Waldorf school fundraiser as the setting for “Der Erlkönig.” Contributions to My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales come from five-star writers; Michael Cunningham, Neil Gaiman, Chris Adrian, and Davis resident Karen Joy Fowler among them. What all the stories have in common—in addition to taking a classic story as their point of departure—is an attention to the common roots of our psyches: Fear, sex, murder, greed, anger and love battle for attention in very literary ways. Editor Kate Bernheimer is the founder of the Fairy Tale Review, which is also worthy of attention.