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The Girl With No Hands and Other Tales
Angela Slatter
Ticonderoga Publications, 208 pages

The Girl With No Hands and Other Tales
Angela Slatter
Angela Slatter lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies such as Dreaming Again (Jack Dann ed), Tartarus Press' Strange Tales II, and in journals such as Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Shimmer, ONSPEC and Doorways Magazine. Her work has had several Honourable Mentions in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror; and two of her stories have been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards in the Best Fantasy Short Story category. She's a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and Tin House 2006.

Angela Slatter Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

Angela Slatter is an Australian author who spins beautiful yarns in a musical, fascinating narrative style. Her enticing stories are set in a magical world in which reality is colourful and fascinating, made of that elusive, precious substance of which dreams are made. The Girl with No Hands collects sixteen enchanting fairy tales for grownups penned by this incredibly talented writer.

Sometimes Slatter develops new, personal versions of famous tales such as "The Little Match Girl," masterly revisited under a more bitter, cruel light, the story of Rumpelstiltskin ("Light As Mist, Heavy As Hope"), or Little Red Riding Hood, of which she gives a delightful rendering in the much darker and unsettling "Red Skin." Occasionally the original plot is deeply altered, such as in "Bluebeard," a creepy tale where a whore's daughter discovers dark secrets in the house of a wealthy customer.

Other times the core of story is entirely original. "The Chrysanthemum Bride" is a bitter piece of deception and despair where beauty becomes the downfall of a young girl looking forward to a convenient marriage, while "Frozen" is a sad, moving story of lack of motherly love, emptiness and death.

In the outstanding "The Hummingbird Heart," a bird placed in the chest of a dead child makes her live again for a little while before she flies away forever.

"Skin" is a short, splendid reversal of the Silkie myth, while the title story "The Girl with No Hands" is a labyrinthine yarn where the Devil, infatuated with a young, innocent woman, is finally defeated by her purity and her goodness of heart.

"Dresses, Three" an extraordinary example of fiction at its best, depicts the intertwined destinies of a lonely seamstress, her bastard boy, a rich client of unsurpassed beauty and a lustful relative of hers.

In the stunning "The Juniper Tree," a piece as cruel as fairy tales can be, a jealous stepmother and an inattentive father provide standing examples of difficult family relationships.

I am quite sure that readers of this superior book will remain spellbound by the sheer beauty of the stories. I highly recommend it, as well as its companion volume, the other collection by Angela Slatter entitled Sourdough and Other Stories recently published by Tartarus Press.

Copyright © 2010 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.

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