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About this book

In stock and shipping!

150 signed and numbered hardcover editions!

A haunting collection of dark fairy tales, “My Lady of Plagues and Other Gothic Fairy Tales” contains stories set in monster-infested woods and in elf-plowed lava fields; in modern-day Jerusalem and in medieval Venice; among deadly flowers and inside the body of a giant. Wildly imaginative and ranging in tone from gruesome to lyrical, these stories include new and surprising takes on traditional fairy tales (“Jack the Giant Killer” and “My Lady of Plagues”); bold feminist revisions of classic Greek myths (“Wings” and “Rattlesnake”); and contemporary political horror (“Death in Jerusalem” and “Alexei’s Godmother”). Award-winning author and academic Elana Gomel brings her unique vision and her knowledge of fairy tales to create a kaleidoscopic collection of old and new stories that take you on a dark journey into magical realms you will never forget.

 

ABOUT THIS BOOK

A Gothic Fairy Tale Collection!
In stock and shipping!
My Lady of Plagues and Other Gothic Fairy Tales by Elana Gomel
Edited by Joe Morey
150 signed and numbered hardcover editions!
Front cover and interior art by Nick Greenwood!

 

STORIES IN THE DARK

NOTE: The following is an essay by Elana Gomel on how she was inspired to write gothic fairy tales

When I was a child, my mother told me fairy tales.

I think many people can identify with this sentence. Most of us remember curling up under the blanket, listening to our mother’s or father’s voice reading from a familiar book with bright pictures of princesses and dragons on the cover. Or if we are parents ourselves, we have read fairy tales to our kids.

But wait a second! I did not say “read”. I said “told”.

My mother was a writer. She wrote essays and literary criticism: books about Chekhov, and Osip Mandelstam, and other Russian writers. She never wrote fiction. But she had an amazing imagination. And this imagination, barred from her own writing, flowed into the stories she made up for her only daughter.

It was only later that I realized that many stories I grew up with – tales about the Robot Prince and the Black Trucks – were not in any collection of the Grimm Brothers or Hans-Christian Andersen. They were my mother’s invention.

And these tales were dark. They had no saccharine feel-good morale or forced happy endings. They were not meant to make me a better child by lying. They were meant to make me a braver child by telling me the truth. And the truth is that there is a lot of darkness in our world, and that children need to learn how to look into it unflinchingly, and to dispel it with the fire of the imagination.

This is an old lesson, perfectly familiar to the ancient storytellers around the world who created the tales of Sleeping Beauty raped by her Prince, and of Cinderella journeying into the kingdom of the dead to ask for help from her ghostly mother, and of Orpheus losing the love of his life through a careless glance. These storytellers did not cater to our beliefs about the innocence of childhood or the dangers of certain words and images. Their tales were timeless and ageless, speaking to children and adults alike, and telling them the truth about the human condition. And this is why, despite their Disney distortion into the junk food for the soul, they are still incredibly powerful. When I taught fairy tales to my students, I remember their gasps of disbelief reading the unexpurgated versions of Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel, and then their enthusiasm as they demanded more. Eventually, some of them began writing original horror, drawing upon the rich reservoir of fairy-tale motifs – the undead bridegroom, the monsters in the shadows, the mother’s bargain – to conquer their own fears and anxieties.

My mother never wrote down the stories she used to tell me. She was busy with other projects, and so was I. It was always at the back of my mind to ask her about them one day, but something always got in the way. And then it was too late. As Cinderella learned at the ball, you need to grasp the moment before it slips out of your grasp forever.

So, these stories are inspired by the tales my mother told me. They are a tribute to her, and to every mother and child huddling together in the dark, shivering in delightful fear, and hearing the magic words “Once upon a time…”

 

PRAISE FOR ELANA GOMEL

““Death in Jerusalem” by Elana Gomel features a woman who falls in love with a man who is one of many incarnations of death. The author creates a unique modern myth. The story is elegantly written and compelling.”
Victoria Silverwolf, Review of “Zion’s Fiction”

“By turns rollicking, chilling, charming, and frightening.”
The Innsmouth Free Press

“Psyche wanders the zones of the world, searching in vain for her husband and daughter, Eros and Hedhoné, as she carries out the tasks set for her by her cruel mother-in-law, Aphrodite, who harasses her each step of the way. One evening as she takes cover from a flock of monstrous pigeons sent to torment her on her journey, she finds herself falling into darkness only to wake later on a beach. A soldier approaches her, and she tells him her story as they walk the shore together. As she soon reveals, the happy marriage between Eros and Psyche, the one blessed by the gods and with which he is so familiar from myth, was not the end of her story.

This tale begins long, long after Zeus forces Aphrodite to stop her cruel persecution of Psyche and allows her and Eros a legitimate marriage. In the telling, Gomel presents a fascinating premise—what if Aphrodite was the only deity left in charge after the other gods had died? It’s a captivating discussion of how the old ways, persecuted and abandoned, give way to the new religion under the brutal rule of a single petty and jealous deity. I really enjoyed this one.”
Tara Grimvarn, Review of Retelling of the Inland Sea

“Written with an impressive focus, this is nicely atmospheric fantasy with an unusual focus. The story is by turns hallucinatory, horrific and magical. The plot turns over neatly and briskly and the imagined world of the novel stays with you when you’re done.”
Adam Roberts, author of Salt, winner of the BSFA Best Novel award, multiple Clark award nominee

“Gomel’s writing is endlessly fascinating and imaginative; phantasmagoric; engaging, and yet, absolutely horrifying simultaneously. Her narratives transport the reader into realms beyond the veil of dreams, and one gets that sense that she is somehow channeling these visions — magically weaving these tales out of ethereal webs in fevered trances. Her sublime writing style is delightful — I cannot say enough good things about it!”
Michael Picco, Author

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