January 30th, 2010

Summary: Cabinet des Fées, 2009

Summary: Cabinet des Fées, 2009

Cabinet des Fées is a journal devoted to fairy tales. It features fiction, poetry, essays, and art. Occasional issues appear in print, but most of their stuff is online. The fiction/poetry section is called Scheherezade's Bequest. I saw two issues in 2009. The editors are Helen Pilinovsky, Erzebet YellowBoy, Donna Quattrone, and Nin Harris. There were 12 stories, all short, two short-shorts. All fantasy, of course, and 10 of the 12 stories were by women (83%). I should also perhaps mention that the website has recently been radically redesigned -- and very nicely, to my taste.

The stories -- and poems, there are lots and lots of poems -- are generally fairy tale retellings. As such reading an issue back to back sometimes is a little wearing -- it's not like fairy tale retellings are hard to come by even without Cabinet des Fées! -- but they are usually really quite good. My favorites: from September (#8): "In the Ashes", by Gerri Leen, a look at the Cinderella story from the viewpoint of one of the Brothers Grimm, as he interviews both Ella and her stepmother, trying to understand the "real" story; and "Connla Mac Lia and the Kingship of Eriu", by Amal El-Mohtar, an Irish-flavored tale about a child father by a fairy upon a woman who is destined to become King; and "Stone Flowers", by Mike Allen, about the life of a Russian woman who emigrates to the US (with a magical secret inside her). There were only two stories in March (#7), both very short and nice enough: Mari Ness's "Remembering Fur", about, of course, Beauty and the Beast; and Elizabeth Hopkinson's "Silver Hands", in which a man regrets his failure to protect his beloved woman with silver hands.