Critics’ Picks: The troll’s revenge

Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link and other writers reimagine fairy tales from the villain's point of view

Topics: Neil Gaiman, Critics' Picks, Our Picks,

Critics' Picks: The troll's revenge

“Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales,” edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

This anthology of fractured and reconfigured fairy tales for young readers offers an excellent introduction to the unreliability of perspective, one that plenty of adults will find provocative, too. How do the old stories look when retold from the point of view of the wicked witch, the evil wizard, the troll under the bridge?

A dazzling array of contributors — Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle and Kelly Link, among others — present the other side of the story. Some hew pretty close to tradition; Beagle’s clucking giantess says of Jack, “He was a nice boy, really, for all the vexation he caused. They always are. I’ve never eaten a bad one yet,” even if she insists that the beanstalk was planted by her husband. Garth Nix’s Rapunzel is actually a lazy teenage freeloader, not so much imprisoned in the hardworking witch’s tower as squatting there, gorging on free food and cable TV.

Link, not surprisingly, provides the edgiest tale, reinterpreting “Cinderella” as a modern-day account of blended family resentment and a boy’s temptation to do “exactly the wrong thing.” The book’s creepy cover art may give some sensitive kids nightmares, but it’s Link’s story that will make the grown-ups think.

Check out recent Critics’ Picks:

HBO’s “Boy Interrupted,” by Heather Havrilesky

Michelle Forbes on “True Blood,” by Laura Miller



Laura Miller

Laura Miller is a senior writer for Salon. She is the author of "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia" and has a Web site, magiciansbook.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>