Friday, July 28, 2017

Michael Cunningham - A Wild Swan (4th Estate, 2015) *****

What a delight! Michael Cunningham re-writes fairy tales as modern style short stories, and modern times stories, and all that in a mesmerising, poetic and lyrical style, full of rhythm and the fluency of a real narrative, stories as they ought to be, told to you directly, full of wonder and amazement, full of knowledge about how it's going to end, and building up the tension, playing the ignorance of the attentive listeners changing into emotional identification and anticipation about what's coming next. And the takes the reader along on the spells and curses of the mighty and the beautiful, because "who wouldn't want to fuck these people up?"

Cunningham does it beautifully, graciously, and don't be afraid, these are not just blunt 're-tellings' of know stories. He gives them his own twist, he tells us what came before the known tale, or after.

And as the tales themselves, what Cunningham does is magic. And if the only criteria for good literature is that you can't wait to read it again, then these writings reach the top.

The book is short, elevent stories only, beautifully illustrated by the drawings of Yuko Shimizo.

No comments: