Far North & Other Dark Tales - Sara Maitland

‘The two women stood at the door of their home. With the necessary courtesy of people who live in such cruel terrain it never occurred to them that they would not welcome him and feed him with whatever they had available and keep him in comfort until he was ready to travel again. In the pale light of mid-morning he came towards them, slowly, swinging and swishing, and they stood there and waited for him.’ - (‘Far North’)

More ‘modern traditional tales’ from an acknowledged master of the genre, drawing on the author’s deep knowledge of classical mythology and traditional stories from every continent. ‘Far North’, based on an Inuit myth, is set among desperate women in the frozen north surviving against all odds. Here is a new version of the Grimms’ tale of the seven swan brothers and their sister’s vow of silence; the Sirens justify the mayhem they wreak on the Greek sailors, while a tribe struggles over the tattooing of babies in the Amazon, Sheherazade is still trying to stay alive by telling stories, and the Princess Kalito tries to free both her feet and her heart from their bindings.

All these stories, formally bold and innovative, emotionally edgy and deeply imbued with a sense of location, address Sara Maitland’s primary concerns about the links between beauty and terror, modernity and ritual. More than half the stories in this collection have never been published in book form, and the others are remarkably enriched by their linked associations. Intertwining the everyday and the inexplicable to witty and disquieting effect, her wildest flights of fantasy are anchored in deep psychological understanding and vivid description, overlaid with a wickedly ironic humour.

‘The most exciting short story writer I know’ - Martin Goodman (On Bended Knees, Slippery When Wet)

About the Author

SARA MAITLAND is an acclaimed writer who won the Somerset Maugham Award with her first novel; she is the author of five further novels and six collections of short stories, as well as works on feminism and theology. She contributes regularly to broadsheet papers, literary magazines and the BBC. She lives in Scotland.

Publication date for Far North & Other Dark Tales: 27th March 2008

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