BOOK REVIEW: In The Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss. Postmodern Gothic fairytales.

In the Forest of Forgetting-Tangerine-lilac.indd

Since my colleague Theodora Goss announced a new ebook edition of her debut collection, In The Forest of Forgetting, I thought I’d share the review I did when the book was first released.

These delicately crafted, literary fantasies draw from Victorian morality stories and fairytales. The language is spare and considered, the tone dry spiked with mordant humor. Goss discreetly and elegantly updates the Gothic tale for postmodern times. Her “Emily Gray” stories concern a governess who grants children’s deepest wishes, at a terrible price. Three of the Emily Gray tales are here. The title story turns a breast cancer patient’s life into a magical fable. Other stories take place in Budapest, and have a flavor of Central European magical realism (“The Rapid Advance of Sorrow”), while “A Rose in Twelve Petals” fractures Sleeping Beauty into twelve different view points, including that of the spinning wheel that pricks the princess. Goss’s stories have dark themes, but she is too graceful a writer to be considered Gothic in the classic sense. Her painterly, humorous characters come alive, and her fantastical ideas are grounded in her character’s psyches.

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