Review – Sourdough and Other Stories

Sourdough and Other Stories – Angela Slatter

Tartarus Press, 2012

Originally published 2010

These are the tales of mothers and daughters. A woman who picks gallowberries and steps out of the world, leaving a tangle of loyalties behind; a girl with a map written into her skin; a baker who feeds vengeance to her enemy and a doll-maker with the power to mould an army. These are the tales of witches and thieves, troll-girls, brides and widows and ghosts.

Winner of the 2012 British Fantasy Award, among numerous other accolades, Angela Slatter is well known for her dark fairy tales. While I recognised only one direct retelling, every story in this collection draws on the lyrical rhythm and clean structure of traditional folk tales. They are not consecutive but are quietly interconnected; the protagonist of one will appear as a side character in another or some part of back story will be revealed. Combining raw pragmatism with strange magic, these stories are exceptionally inventive and frequently very bleak – I’d classify most as dark fantasy, but there’s definitely a strong tinge of horror. Last year Slatter released The Bitterwood Bible and other stories, a second collection set in the same world.

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One thought on “Review – Sourdough and Other Stories

  1. Pingback: Spec Fic Focus on Fairytale Retellings | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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