How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

Fantasy legend Jane Yolen (The Emerald Circus, The Devil’s Arithmetic) delights with this effortlessly wide-ranging offering of fractured fairy tales. Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them entirely transformed; where a spinner of straw into gold becomes a money-changer and the big bad wolf retires to a nursing home. Rediscover the fables you once knew, rewritten and refined for the world we now live in―or a much better version of it.


[A FRACTURE IS A BREAK, usually in the bone, but it can also mean a crack in the earth, an interruption of the norm]


(Tachyon Publications, 5 November 2018, ebook, 240 pages, ARC from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed)




Stories included

  • Snow in Summer
  • The Bridge’s Complaint
  • The Moon Ribbon
  • Godmother Death
  • Happy Dens or A Day in the Wold Wolves’ Home
  • Granny Rumple
  • One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox and the Dragon King
  • Brother Hart
  • Sun / Flight
  • Slipping Sideways Through Eternity
  • The Foxwife
  • The Faery Hag
  • One Old Man, with Seals
  • Sleeping Ugly
  • The Undine
  • Great-Grandfather Dragon’s Tale
  • Green Plague
  • The Unicorn and the Pool
  • The Golden Balls
  • Sister Death
  • Sule Skerry
  • Once a Good Man
  • Allerleirauh
  • The Gwynhfar
  • Cinder Elephant
  • Mama Gone
  • The Woman Who Loved a Bear
  • Wrestling With Angels


I enjoyed every story in this collection. I love it when authors take a well-known story and shape and twist it into something completely new. Fairy tales present almost endless ‘what if’ possibilities. Yolen distorts some well-known fairy tales in this collection but there are also tales I’d never heard of before. Every page was a treat to read. Some of the stories are even darker than the fairytales. I loved what Yolen does with this collection. I particularly enjoyed The Bridge’s Complaint, Sun / Flight, Brother Hart, One Old Man, with Seal and Sister Death.



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