Friday, February 17, 2012

Vestal Review: Fairy Tales Redux

by Zoe Gilbert
I first read about this on the Twice Told Tales LJ but haven't seen mention of it anywhere so thought I would highlight it here.

Vestal Review is both an online and print magazine that is "the longest-running flash fiction magazine in the world".  The latest issue is free to read (though you can donate) and, happily for us, is all about fairy tales.

Web Issue 41  Fairy Tales Redux
Winter 2012

Here's the editorial (reprinted with permission), describing what the issue is about, by Ania Vesenny:
According to Italo Calvino, fairy tales are a great example of quickness in literature. It is no surprise, then, that Vestal Review’s newest issue is devoted to fairy tales.  
When I was a child, I spent hours a day reading Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen. Despite the often overwhelming sadness and tragedy that infused Andersen’s fairy tales, I re-read them, year after year, with the same delight.  
As I read fairy tales to my children, instead of the joy, I often experience annoyance. How cloying these old stories have become! Disney’s “Little Mermaid” is not the same tragic, but hauntingly beautiful and gentle story written by H. C. Andersen almost two hundred years ago. Though I cried when I read the original, I was enriched by those tears. Do centuries-old fairy tales have to be rewritten to have neatly-wrapped happy endings? I search for old editions and avoid anything abridged. 
I have to remind myself, though, that the storytellers of the past routinely altered the endings so that the tales remained relevant to their listeners. The modern versions, with their syrupy simplifications, do reflect significant themes in our society. When it comes to literature, we tend to guard young children from strong emotions.   
This issue of Vestal Review, however, returns to the tradition of fairy tales being told mostly for the benefit of adults. In addition to alternate endings, you will witness your favorite characters in modern context of obsession and celebrity adulation: characters previously silent are given voices, and details or experiences formerly obscured are brought to the forefront.  
It was a particular pleasure to read for this issue. I love fairy tales, after all. I hope that you, too, will enjoy these stories.
There's a chance you'll see a familiar name or two among the authors as well.

The contents are:
  • Birds by Aimee Bender
  • Cinderella's Two Minute Tell-All by Jason Nemec
  • Mermaid by A. A> Balaskovits
  • Growth Rings by Maia Harrison
  • Surface Tension by Maia Harrison
  • Talking to Srangers by Cynthia Larsen
  • And the Rain Kept Falling by Steven Nordhauser
  • All the Hansels and All the Gretels by Stephen Ornes
You can read the current Winter 2012 Fairy Tales Redux issue HERE.

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