Alcestis Books Historical fiction

Fairy tales and the absurd (not at the same time)

Kate Bernheimer and Maria Tatar have organized a petition to request that the National Book Foundation allow mythological and fairy-tale retellings to be eligible for the National Book Award. I hadn’t even realized they weren’t, but I think it’s silly, obviously — why cordon off a huge group of the narratives that influence all writers?

To add your support to the petition, email the organizers (contact info on the page above) or join the petition’s Facebook page.

And speaking of mythological retellings, there’s a Beckett-influenced play called “Penelope” currently onstage in Brooklyn. That review says it’s “like a dream you might have after too much neat whiskey at a tacky marina bar in the company of bookish Irish sots.” That’s… just about the polar opposite to my style of mythological retelling, which is more an “every angel is terrifying” kind of thing. But it sounds like a remarkable way to dramatize the bizarreness of Penelope’s long wait and the demise of the suitors.

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