Sunday, April 11, 2010

Short Story Review: The Goosle by Margo Lanagan - for the Once Upon a Time Challenge IV


  • The Goosle
  • by Margo Lanagan
  • Genre: fairy tale “after telling”, dark fantasy, horror

The Goosle is a ten page short story which is part of The Best Horror of the Year – Volume 1, edited by Ellen Datlow. I stumbled upon it in the library entry way display shelf. Because I love horror and Margo Lanagan’s name was on the cover, I picked it up hopefully. I was imagining that she would in fact be writing a fairy tale ”ish” story, as in her book Tender Morsels (my 5 star review linked.) I was happily excited.

This short story is a very dark “afterwards” to Hansel and Gretel. It occurs after the actual tale, when Hansel is a young man instead of a boy. There is no Gretel and things have changed greatly since he was a small child lost in the woods. I would say they are a bit more complicated. He is caught up in another tangle of sorts, albeit worse than being lost in the woods. I will go no further since I do not want to include spoilers, but Lanagan brings in a number of taboo subjects making it shocking. I think to finish this short story the reader needs to truly enjoy “dark fantasy”. It is however a fantastic story, heart wrenching, thoughtful, as well as layered. One of my favorite types of reading. After reading this piece, and it is only my second by this author, I am thinking Margo Lanagan is one of the best writers of dark fantasy that I have read, and she is heading for a place at the top of all writers as well. Highly recommended, especially for those with strong stomachs, hearts, and sensibilities. Now to find more short stories which can compete *sigh*.

This story also has GLBT elements.



Book Stats:

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801614
  • Amazon Links: US/UK/Canada

    This is my first post for The Once Upon a Time Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.


    Now off to the trails, for a “walk”. Sadly the season will be ending soon. It will be in the high 80s today in our lovely “Hotsdale”, only to reach oven like status before we know it. Happy Sunday everyone!


    Alexia561 said...

    Sounds intriguing! I always wonder what happens after the Happily Ever After's. Love short stories, and also enjoy dark fantasy, so will be adding this to my wishlist. Thanks!

    Unknown said...

    Alexia -
    I will be interested to see if you enjoy this too.

    I have never read any "after tellings" for fairy tales so it was interesting to find out they actually exist.

    Simcha said...

    This sounds like a really interesting story, although I usually shy away from books that I really dark. I've also been meaning to participate in the short story Sunday challenge but I keep forgetting. This Sunday though, I'll make sure to do it. Great review!

    Unknown said...

    Simcha -
    Thanks :)
    I am really scared to say you should read it since it is so so dark - fair warnings. If you do I will be interested in knowing what you think about it.

    I read another story from the collection last night which was good but not quite as wonderful.

    I like these short stories - less of a commitment and just as fun.

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