Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss

Until recently I believed that literary genres were fairly static. We had literary fiction, popular fiction, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, mysteries. Now I feel like I discover new genres all the time. Maybe these new genres are really sub-genres of these larger groups, but who cares? It’s fun. A few weeks ago I wrote about tartan noir. Today I’m writing about slipstream, fiction with a fantastical edge to it, not really fantasy, but not realistic fiction either. I love it.

The stories in this book are uneven in how closely they walk the boundary between fantasy and reality. They are also uneven in quality. The title story In the Forest of Forgetting is just brilliant. It’s a vivid mixture of traditional fairy tale (an innocent maiden wanders alone into a forest and encounters a witch) and reality (the forest is illness; the witch is a surgeon; the walk through the forest is a journey towards death from breast cancer). I also loved Sleeping with Bears, which is available on this website. You can read a few other stories on Goss’s own website, here. Some of them appear in the volume I just read, and others stand alone.

I want to read more books like this one but have trouble finding them. Suggestions?

(Book 11, 2011)


James Coe said...

"The Hero and the Crown," by Robin McKinley is primarily a fantasy novel but also transverses genre in exploring themese of race and touches on ideas of how our history and culture effect our everyday lives. Not the best written book but is along the theme of Goss's work and is an interesting read.

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