- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Tachyon Publications (14 November 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616962739
- ISBN-13: 978-1616962739
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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The Emerald Circus Paperback – 14 Nov 2017
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"A brilliant example of short-form storytelling by one of the treasures of the science fiction community."
--Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of Mistborn [STARRED REVIEW] "Beauty sneaks out to get a Christmas gift for the Beast, the first of several wrong decisions in 'The Gift of the Magicians, with Apologies to You Know Who.' In 'Blown Away, ' Dorothy's twister takes her away, not to a magical land but the Emerald Circus, and she returns home as a gymnastic performer who changes many lives. Wendy leads a labor strike against the Lost Boys in 'Lost Girls.' After more than a decade, Yolen (Briar Rose; Sister Emily's Starship and Other Stories) returns with 16 stories that take readers sideways and upside down through beloved fairy tales and classic tales such as Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz, while also reimagining the lives of famous storytellers such as Hans Christian Anderson, Edgar Allan Poe and ¬Emily Dickinson. VERDICT: These delightful retellings of favorite stories will captivate newcomers and fans of Yolen as she once again delivers the magic, humor, and lovely prose that has attracted readers for years."
--Library Journal, starred review [STARRED REVIEW] "Though only one of the 16 stories in Yolen's latest story collection is newly published, the selections are anything but haphazard. The central vision of the compilation is the reimagining of folktales, legends, literature, and history. More than that, the volume feels unified by themes and imagery. The most obvious connections are three retellings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and three takes on the quasi-historical basis of the King Arthur myths. But even these seemingly discrete blocks of stories feed into the rest of the volume. One of the Arthur tales, for example, features the story of Merlin being told to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the real author of some of the earliest Arthurian legends. Yolen takes up this thread of focusing on the creative process again and again as she weaves stories of the magic behind Hans Christian Andersen, Edgar Allan Poe, and Emily Dickinson. And of course, every entry contains Yolen's crystalline prose, which captures the magic in reality, and vice versa, with ease and grace. Each tale is accompanied by a brief note from Yolen and a related poem, almost all written newly for this work. VERDICT: These highly entertaining retellings are perfect for teens fans of fairy tales and classic literature, though they are easily enjoyed without any background knowledge."
--School Library Journal "Ever the wordsmith, Yolen dazzles with her first short story collection for adults in years."
--Booklist "An impressive overview of the author's breadth and career, this collection will appeal to the author's existing devotees--or to anyone who has ever thought that "happily ever after" left too many questions."
--Kirkus "Jane Yolen's [The] Emerald Circus may be my favorite book of the year, period, with apologies to Jeff Vandermeer's Borne. Many years ago, when I had my own blog, I wrote a post celebrating the versatility of Yolen--one of the few authors who can write top-shelf books at any age level. [The] Emerald Circus is a perfect example of her fluid but rock-solid prose."
--Mark Flowers, Adult Books for Teens, School Library Journal "Jane Yolen's The Emerald Circus is full of marvels. She introduces familiar acts and actors into her rings and then tricks us into seeing them from complex, unexpected angles. She turns toads into witches, Sir Lancelot into a 600 year old monk, Dorothy into a tightrope walker, and Emily Dickinson into a spacefarer. The stories themselves change between one reading and another, always revealing more, always at a different slant than before, in language that is rich, unholy, and, like the tales themselves, beautifully unpredictable. From Snow Queen to spaceship, The Emerald Circus is a delight."
--Patricia A. McKillip, author of the Riddle-Master trilogy and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
"With over 350 books, Jane Yolen is a legend in the world of children's and young-adult literature, but her acerbic and witty adult fiction and poetry offer their own pleasures. The 16 stories here, each accompanied by a related poem and notes, revisit some iconic classics, but always from a new, thought-provoking angle."
--Chicago Tribune "5/5 stars - Not only is [Yolen's] writing style engaging and captivating, but the stories themselves are magical and fantastic to read . . . I loved every moment of this book and I couldn't find anything wrong with it."
--The Joycean Booknerdery "An excellent collection of fairy tale 'retellings' written by Nebula Award-winning author Jane Yolen . . . a collection I would recommend to everyone."
--Infinite Text "Jane Yolen is a consummate storyteller, weaving old and new threads to create tales rich in wisdom and depth. The Emerald Circus is an utter delight."
--Juliet Marillier, award-winning author of Sevenwaters series "The Emerald Circus dances at the border between bucking tradition and paying homage to the great stories and figures of ages past. The result is a brilliant assemblage of narratives with the potential to leave an audience spellbound."
--Foreword, starred review "Talk about imaginary gardens with real toads in them! In this wide-ranging short story collection, Jane Yolen's scholarship and creative genius combine to bestow upon the reader fantastic new intimacy with venerable tales and persons."
--Nancy Springer, author of The White Hart and I Am Mordred "Jane Yolen facets her glittering stories with the craft of a master jeweller. Everything she writes, including The Emerald Circus, is original and timeless, deliciously creepy and disturbingly lovely."
--Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity "In this masterful collection, Jane Yolen draws upon myth, fairy tales, history, poetry, and children's classics from Alice to Oz to fashion new tales from the bones of the old. There is simply no better storyteller working in the fantasy field today. She's a national treasure."
--Terri Windling, author of The Wood Wife and The Essential Bordertown "What a joy it is to watch Jane Yolen burrow into the hearts of familiar stories and dwell in possibilities we'd never imagined. It's all done with Yolen's trademark wisdom, a healthy dollop of subversion, and a twinkle in the eye. A delight!"
--Susan Fletcher, author of Dragon's Milk and Shadow Spinner "Jane Yolen's collection The Emerald Circus is pure delight for anyone who craves inspired retellings of classics from literature, or re-imaginings of the lives of real literary figures. 5/5 stars"
--YA Books Central "An excellent collection."
--Fantasy Literature "Definitely one worth reading. I loved it . . . I was excited to read The Emerald Circus, and was not disappointed in the least."
--Confessions of a Book Addict "Honestly, I don't know when Jane Yolen finds time to sleep but I'm selfishly glad she's been able to produce wonderful stories filled with deft turns of phrases, palpable atmosphere, and interesting, flawed characters."
--Sabrina's Library "Marvellous and entertaining."
--Risingshadow "In this collection you will be surprised, shocked, intrigued, and awed both by new tales and by new perspectives on old, well-loved tales. 5/5 stars"
--Imagine a Book SF "Oh Boy! I did love this book . . ."
--YA Lit Ramblings "The best book I've read in a long time."
--Amazon, Celebrity Picks by Brandon Sanderson "I loved the stories in The Emerald Circus. . . I'd highly recommend this collection. 5/5 stars."
--The Book Lover's Boudoir "It's always a treat to read a new Jane Yolen tale, but it's especially rewarding when you thought you read them all, and then along comes The Emerald Circus collection."
"This is a book to go back to for a writer so you can pull it apart and learn technique . . . one to keep."
"Fantasy with a feminist twist."
--Why Words Work
"A master storyteller's riff on various well-known tales including The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and of course the Arthurian legend . . . [A] literary extravaganza."
--Emerald City Book Review "A writer who has perfected [her] own voice. If you enjoy reading fresh, sometimes subversive, but always affectionate takes on the stories that we all grew up with, I recommend this collection without reservation."
--SF Revu Praise for Jane Yolen "The Hans Christian Andersen of America"
"The Aesop of the twentieth century"
--The New York Times
"Jane Yolen is a gem in the diadem of science fiction and fantasy."
About the Author
Holly Black (Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Doll Bones) is the bestselling author of adult, young adult, childrens books. Black has co-written the Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony Di Terlizzi), the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and she has recently begun work on the graphic novels series, Lucifer. She is the recipient of the Newbery Medal, and the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards. Black lives in New England.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Despite having read the Arthurian tales, all the other short stories were new to me. I thought I'd already read "Sister Emily's Lightship" -- about Emily Dickinson and extraterrestrials -- but I had not and it was a wonderful story. I also thought "Blown Away" -- a Wizard of Oz re-imagining -- and "A Knot of Toads" -- where Disraeli attempts to enchant Queen Victoria -- to be imaginative and unique.
Best of all (well, almost), Jane Yolen includes author notes about each story at the end, with accompanying poems! That was a really delightful surprise. I love hearing how stories come to be, and I love poetry.
Thanks to Tachyon Press and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Andersen’s Witch: Hans Christian Andersen's life's fairy tale, when he makes a bargain with the Ice Queen. 3.5/5
Lost Girls (Nebula Award Winner): Darla from the 21st century gets transported to Never-Never Land, where she has some ideas about women's rights and isn't about to clean up after Peter. 3.5/5
Tough Alice: Alice falls through into Wonderland again, and is trying to find a champion to fight the Jabberwock. But when no one steps up, she realizes she has to be her own champion. 3/5
Blown Away: When Dorothy is blown away in the tornado, she doesn't go to the Emerald City, rather, the Emerald Circus. She returns 7 years later and a farmhand--who tells the story--can't believe how much she's changed. 4/5
A Knot of Toads: A daughter returns from college to her small, Scottish hometown for her father's funeral. Only to discover her father's death occurred under unusual circumstances, while working on a history of witches. 4/5
The Quiet Monk: Lancelot is a wandering monk, trying to find Guinevere's grave. 4/5
The Bird (Original story): Edgar Allan Poe gifts his wife Lenore a raven on the eve of her death. 2/5
Belle Bloody Merciless Dame: A drunk chooses the wrong woman to molest in an alley. 2/5
Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown: Disraeli tries to practice Kabbalah magic on Queen Victoria. 4/5
A Gift of Magicians: Beauty and the Beast meets O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. 2/5
Rabbit Hole: 80-year-old Alice goes down the rabbit hole once more. 2/5
Our Lady of the Greenwood: Before Lady Margaret of Locksley dies in childbirth, she charges her midwife to take her infant son to the greenwood, to be named by the fae. 3.5/5
The Confession of Brother Blaise: Merlin's birth, as told by Brother Blaise on his death bed. 4/5
Wonder Land: Little Red Riding Hood goes through the woods to tell her BFF about where her boyfriend just put his hands, but she's not to be fooled by wolves or any other creature. 4/5
Evian Steel: Elaine is sent to the isle of women to be trained in their magic and craft, and forms a friendship with Veera. When Veera forges a sword as part of her initiation into adulthood, something goes wrong with the ceremony, but it's exactly the sword, and the girl, that Merlin wants. This one reminds me of Sister Light, Sister Dark. 4.5/5
Sister Emily’s Lightship (Nebula Award Winner): Emily Dickinson trades poems with an alien. Yep! 4.5/5
Yolen kind of screwed me over with this one because I found her writing so intriguing and was absolutely captivated by her take on well-known fairytale and literary figures I couldn’t stop at just one or two I had to read through her whole collection including the poems and story notes at the end. If you know someone who likes fairytales, who is even a fan of Hans Christian Anderson, then you’re going to want to pick this up which luckily for you comes out before the Christmas holiday – there I just helped you mark an item off your list.
Yolen’s story notes with the poems at the end are worth it all by themselves to pick this up as you feel like you get to know her, as if she’s sitting with you by the fire one late wintry night spinning tales to enthrall and bemuse you. She is the epitome of what the title “storyteller” hopes to define.
I have never read anything by her before and more is the pity that I have missed out on years’ worth of being entertained by her talent. In the Irish culture from which my family comes the Storyteller, or SeanchaÍ, was held in high esteem. They kept the histories alive and were heavily relied on since they were the only way to keep them from getting lost. Yolen does a remarkable job of taking up the torch in spirit.
You get to relive stories and people from long ago in a whole new way such as Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Anderson’s Snow Queen, Alice in Wonderland, Edgar Allen Poe with his Raven, Robin Hood, legends from Arthur’s genre and nods to works from across time periods and cultures. Her work entertains certainly but it also leaves you feeling intellectually satisfied.