Read Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter Online


Welcome to the beautiful magic, restless passion and exquisite horror of Angela Slatter's impeccably imagined tales.In the cathedral-city of Lodellan and its uneasy hinterland, babies are fashioned from bread, dolls are given souls and wishes granted may be soon regretted. There are ghosts who dream, men whose wings have been clipped and trolls who long for something otherWelcome to the beautiful magic, restless passion and exquisite horror of Angela Slatter's impeccably imagined tales.In the cathedral-city of Lodellan and its uneasy hinterland, babies are fashioned from bread, dolls are given souls and wishes granted may be soon regretted. There are ghosts who dream, men whose wings have been clipped and trolls who long for something other. Love, loss and life are elegantly dissected in Slatter's earthy yet poetic prose.As Rob Shearman says in his Introduction: 'Sourdough and Other Stories manages to be grand and ambitious and worldbuilding-but also as intimate and focused as all good short fiction should be . . . The joy of Angela Slatter's book is that she's given us a set of fairy tales that are at once both new and fresh, and yet feel as old as storytelling itself.'...

Title : Sourdough and Other Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781905784257
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 238 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sourdough and Other Stories Reviews

  • Bradley
    2019-04-06 04:22

    This fantasy book full of short stories has got to be some of the most beautiful that I've ever read, and it's not merely because of the richness of the characters, or of how much thought and careful effort was spent in the crafting of so many different women. Indeed, I don't even love it because so many classic fairy tales were taken by the scruff and were scolded and were transformed as if by magic into things utterly different than their original beginnings, or so altered that we are now living in the boots of the witches, the changelings, the trolls, or even just the women who are normally relegated to the sidelines, but who are now wonderful agents of change and wisdom or even revenge and regret. I love it because of the language, the brush strokes that got the story out there quick and dirty, how effortless it was to fall into the tales and forget where I was or even the fact that I'm a man, that I'm not truly trying to piece these individual stories together into a much larger tapestry that beckons me closer, asking me to slice open my neck and let it drain the last of my magic so as to step out and breathe in the air of my reality, instead.Yeah, this fantasy is just that good.I debated going through each story and pinpointing the legends that Slatter makes her own, quickly, deftly, with no chaff, but Althea Ann has already made a wonderful review doing just that, and she included most of the tie-ins, the sequel-ish stories, and some recurring themes. I could add to it, I suppose, but there's something I should add here: This book deserves to be read, to be experienced for yourself.I worried, at first, that I was going to be speechless and dumb after reading it. It was just that immersive and wonderful and scary and delightful and haunting.That being said, I do want to mention a few of my absolute favorites. "Little Radish" was pretty much perfect from conception to first breath. "Ash" was delightfully dark. "A Porcelain Soul" was tragic and beautiful. And "Sister, Sister" was delightful in every way, turning most tropes on their head and also managing to slip in so many of the MC's of the other stories, so much as to make my eyes shine.What really makes me upset is the fact that this book is so damn hard to find in print, now, except by kindle. That's a real shame because the stories are plainly superior to almost all that I've read in the fantasy field. :)

  • Althea Ann
    2019-03-20 08:19

    ***** The Shadow TreeAn amazing opening to the book... familiar fairytale elements combine in unexpected ways, creating a haunting, eerie and poignant tale.This cinder-dark Ella, servant in a great castle, sees to the needs of both the king and the queen, and tells strange stories to their two horrible children. But that's not all she'll do...**** Gallow-berriesThis is a 'prequel' to 'And Sorrow And Such' - here we meet the main character of that novella as a young woman who's just lost her mother. Lest you feel too, too, sorry for her, her mother was a witch, so is she, and she's already quite capable of taking care of herself.***** Little RadishA retelling of Rapunzel. What if she wasn't forcibly imprisoned in that tower, but was actually there by choice? It can be difficult to come out of your isolation and form connections with other people. It's not a process that can necessarily happen without pain and damage. A story with a strong message of forgiveness and wisdom. **** DibblespinA half-troll girl has a strained relationship with her fully-human sister. Strange magic has been affecting the forest where they live, and things will come to a head when her sister's mother re-enters the picture.***** The NavigatorA dark and tragic tale: Slaves deprived of their wings, an illicit love affair marred by guilt and inequity. Betrayal and sacrifice. It is both horrible and beautiful.**** The Angel WoodWhen a girl is taken to the home her mother fled before she was born, she must take up the fate that her mother ran away from, and fulfill the responsibilities of the bargain her family made long ago. Here, a destiny that could be horrific is instead bittersweet. **** AshWhen a woman demands the return of a child that she gave to a witch as payment for her services, she learns that although a bargain can be broken, and a witch can as vulnerable as any other woman, there is a price for her reneging on the agreement.**** The Story of InkA sequel, of sorts, to 'Ash.' A young serving girl obeys her master when he instructs her to find and retrieve his runaway ward. His plans for the runaway involve dark and sinister magics, but the servant is more concerned with her promised reward.***** Lost ThingsAlso a sequel to 'Ash' and 'The Story of Ink.' We follow a character who has joined a gang of bandits as cook's boy. However, an accident reveals not only that she is a girl, but that her skin bears a legendary and magical map which is key to retrieving all lost things - perhaps, even the dead.**** A Good HusbandBargains that don't work out quite as expected are a recurring theme in this collection. Here a woman violently disfigured by her husband asks a boon. Will the inhabitant of the local lake, a mermaid-like, magical being reputed to grant wishes, make her husband love her? ***** A Porcelain SoulWow. This story is strikingly original in so many details - it has to be read, not described. A young woman's greatest ambition is to become a dollmaker. (She studies at a center where the dolls and toys created are infused with the souls of the makers, creating wonderful, almost-living toys.) Her biggest competition for the place she seeks is talented - but has no desire for the career. Unfortunately, she's connected by blood to the head of the studio, and may not be given a choice about what path she is allowed to pursue. Trying to restrict peoples' choices leads to desperate measures - and desperate measures, too often, lead to tragedy.*****The Bones Remember EverythingA strange voice calling leads a woman to a tower encircled my thorns, untouched for years. Within sits a spinning wheel... and yes, a woman who has 'slept' for years.You might think this sounds familiar, but the story that is told, and the story that unfolds, will not match your expectations.Very nicely done, and the details that tie this piece in with others in the collections are an added bonus.***** SourdoughWhen a baker is called upon to demonstrate her wares for a big wedding catering order, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with the groom. But things happen as they will. Although it's an arranged marriage, it's unsurprising (except to the baker) that the fiancee is none too pleased with their affair. The events that transpire will involve curses and revenge. In these stories, there tends to be no 'innocent' party.**** Sister, SisterOnce a queen, a woman is now reduced to life in a brothel. (A brothel where a remarkable number of characters from earlier stories seem to have ended up.) It's actually not the worst place to live; the woman who runs the place is fair and considerate. But that's not to say that the woman doesn't have plans to leave, or that she doesn't hold serious resentment against her sister, whose lies caused her husband to throw her over and make that sister his mistress.However, there's more to this story that she realizes... rumors are going around of children disappearing, and this betrayal may have deeper roots.**** Lavender & LychgatesMalicious magic has raised a boy from the dead. Reanimated, he believes that the daughter his mother bore after his stillbirth has usurped his place, and that he will somehow regain the love that should have been his if he can only eliminate her.A sequel, of sorts, to 'Sourdough.'**** Under the MountainThis final tale, again, incorporates many of the characters we met in earlier stories. The main character here is the daughter of the once-queen in 'Sister, Sister.' On a quest to rescue a loved one from the troll kingdom, she must face hard truths.

  • Lindsay
    2019-04-05 07:33

    This is collection of short stories, inter-related in several ways and set at different times. The stories could be fairy tales, indeed one of them is a retelling of Rapunzel, but all from a dark fantasy or horror viewpoint. Myth from our world is liberally sprinkled in, but most of it is brilliantly original.There's witches, trolls, ghosts, spirits, sirens and all sorts of magic, but the stories are always deeply ground in the women that experience them. The stories interleave themes around women and power, sacrifice and all the reasons that sacrifices are made and magic and the price of it. Sacrifice keeps coming up and it's usually the woman who makes the sacrifice, either willingly or unwillingly and for a huge variety of reasons: to correct a wrong, for revenge, to protect, to pay a price or simply for power's sake. The book explores all of that.There's some real standouts here. The story "Porcelain Soul" had me having to put the book down for a while and take a walk, but the "Little Radish" was amazing too. "Ash" is one of the better revenge stories I've read and "Gallowberries" was fascinating as well (more on that one in Of Sorrow and Such). That being said, there aren't any duds here, and the interweaving of characters and stories are just wonderful.If you can get hold of this, read it.

  • Robyn
    2019-04-20 05:13

    In the Afterword to my edition, Jeff Vandermeer basically says everything I could ever want to say about this book and Angela Slatter. First, he brings up Angela Carter - exactly who I think of when I read Slatter (and who, yes, I had a huge reading crush on as a young adult, just like Mr. Vandermeer) - and yet, an author so different from Ms. Slatter.Then, he says - much more brilliantly than I did, when describing this book ineloquently to my husband as 'stories that could be real' - that her 'characters exist on the edges of our real world.' This is exactly it! I don't even know how she does it.Finally, he goes into the incredible writing, especially highlighting her ability to say so so much in so little. For myself, I really enjoyed the way the stories interleaved, the delicious darkness of the plots, the beauty of simplicity. Many thumbs up!

  • Alan Baxter
    2019-04-13 08:16

    I’m a sucker for a good fairy story. And I mean a proper fairy story, where nasty things happen, even to the good people. It makes my teeth flex to see these sanitised Disney fairy tales, where it’s all rainbows and unicorns and bollocks like that, with a final message that all you have to do is believe in yourself. Fuck off. That’s not a fairy tale. A real fairy story is where the witch does eat the children, not when the children outsmart the mean old witch with their goodness and wholesomeness.So yeah, I like a proper fairy tale and I knew that Slatter’s book was a collection of such things. I also knew that it was a collection of interconnected stories, with the whole book becoming something of a novel-of-short-stories rather than a whole bunch of standalone yarns. And I knew that most of the stories were dealing primarily with women protagonists. I didn’t know anything more about it than that. I’ve read some of Slatter’s work before and knew what an awesome writer she was, so I had high hopes. I bought this book the moment it became available and it leapt straight to the top of my reading pile.I consumed this thing whole and it consumed me. Slatter’s writing is exquisite, she really is a master storyteller. Her turns of phrase are often beautiful and haunting. It’s not that her prose is full of literary swirl or flowery excess. She just uses language like a virtuoso pianist uses a keyboard. She delights in the short form of the delivery and these tales are tight, incredibly crafted things. She builds a world and a set of characters and makes us care about both of them in the space of a few paragraphs. She creates a story that hooks us and takes along. And because I knew there was interconnectedness in this book, getting to the end of one story just made me desperate to read the next. I wanted to see whose baby would be the powerful witch later on, or whose actions would cause ripples in future generations. And I was distraught when the book ended and there were no more stories to read.Terrible things happen in Slatter’s stories, to good guys and bad guys. Good guys do horrible things to bad people and vice versa. Often it’s not entirely clear who the good and bad people are. There’s realism in the desperate struggles of the characters. Often the women around whom all these tales revolve are subjugated and oppressed, yet they shine in the end as the ones with real power, real lasting effect on their world. There are beautiful moments of redemption and bittersweet justice and occasional moments of genuine joy for the characters.There is constant genuine joy for the reader. This book is a fantastic achievement on every level. Tartarus Press are to be congratulated for creating a beautiful object and Angela Slatter is to be congratulated for crafting a reading experience that is truly sublime. If this doesn’t get up for the Best Collected Work at the Aurealis Awards or something similar I’ll be sorely disappointed. Get it. Now.

  • Sarah L. Covert
    2019-03-30 06:37

    I opened the package from Tartarus Press the moment it arrived. I knew that I would be compelled to read this little gem right away. So, I took off the dust cover – a habit I picked up after the scary incident of the water spill this Summer – and gasped with awe. Stephen J. Clark‘s stunning image is etched into the hard cover in glorious silver, gold, and brass tones (see picture above). I didn’t think Tartarus could outdo themselves, but they did! I know, I know, you can’t judge a book by its cover… but it was quite stunning.I immediately dove in and was instantly spellbound by Angela’s poetic and haunting prose. In the introduction Robert Shearman notes that Angela has “…given us a set of fairy tales that are at once both new and fresh, and yet feel as old as storytelling itself.” He really hits the nail on the head with this statement. As I read each of these wonderfully woven stories I was stricken with a feeling of familiarity, yet somehow I also felt as if I was walking down an untrodden mystical path.Because of the nature of short stories and my non-spoiler stance on reviews, I will not talk in depth about each of the stories but mainly speak of the piece as a whole. Angela Slatter has a way of drawing you into a story with ease and grace. Her characterization and eye for detail and imagery is on par with the great classic authors. It is easy to draw a comparison the Brothers Grimm when you first begin reading this book, but when you read further you come to the understanding that there is no other work like this. Sourdough and Other Stories may pull on the same strings as the other masters of dark fairytales did, but she puts her own unique spin on things.I will talk briefly about two stories that struck me – but fear not, they will be spoiler free! The first tale that would haunt me long after I put the book down was “The Shadow Tree“. This is the story that opens the book. A mysterious woman who takes care of the royal children (as well as providing potions to those who needed them and taking care of the King in other ways) is the protagonist of this story. The royal children were spoiled and quite nasty to their caretaker. The only way she could get them to pay her mind was by telling them stories. Her tales had a way of charming them. Then one night they took her stories to heart and their fate was sealed. Though this story was one of the shorter ones it did a wonderful job of setting the tone for the book. My favorite tale (and it was quite difficult to chose one) was “Little Radish“. This is the story of Rapunzel (which means little radish, she is named so for her mother’s love for the root vegetable) and her tower. I know what you must be thinking, but this is no way the same tale. Rapunzel loved silence and solitude. She sought out a way to be alone. All of her life she dreamt of a tower where she could find this peace. Then one day, when she was old enough, she set out to find the tower from her dreams. She meets a “wise woman” who tells her of a secret invisible tower and how to uncloak it. Rapunzel was very happy there for a long while, until the day she met a handsome young man and then did not desire the silence any longer. The story takes some interesting dark turns thereafter and the ending had a haunting beauty that led to tear drops wetting my cheecks.Witchcraft is one of the central themes in this interconnected book. We see both the bright and dark sides of the Wise Women of old. As a modern eclectic witch, I enjoyed Angela’s witchy stories a good deal. Unlike most dark fiction where one assumes the witch is evil, her stories often beg the question “What is evil?”. She explores the idea that the world is not black and white. Her playground is very often in the gray areas.Final Thoughts:Angela’s dark folk tales shine a light on the paths we do not dare travel and let’s us safely glimpse the strange, horrific, and often beautiful otherworld. This cohesive collection bleeds together and each story weaves in and out of each other creating a vivid time and place for us to explore. This well-crafted book is much more than a mere collection of stories. Together these stories makeup an enchanted world – one that you feel a part of. I have already read this book twice, and I do not doubt that I will read it again. Someday, when I have a child, I shall read it to them on dark and stormy nights. I look forward to reading more from this stunning writer. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dark fiction, fairytales, strange tales, elegant horror, or anyone who likes stories with strong women protagonists and good characterization. For the full review with links, visit:

  • Alexandra
    2019-04-08 07:15

    Reading this has been a long time coming. I think I've owned it for a couple of years, but I've never quite got there before now... mostly because I knew that once I had read it, I would have read it, and then it wouldn't be sitting there waiting to be read.Yes, sometimes my brain is weird.TL;DR: totally, totally worth it; wonderful and strange and making me moon-eyed. It is indeed like reading those fairy tales that were deemed Not Really Fit for young children and discovering that THAT is where the good stuff is. Almost all of the narratives in this collection are connected in some way to other stories. Sometimes this is explicit: there are a couple of families for whom generations get stories. Others are more round-about, as a passing character in one gets developed in another. This goes too, of course, for The Bitterwood Bible in which Slatter has written prequel stories, of sorts. The fact that I read Bitterwood first meant I got to see some of the places where she went back and filled in gaps, fleshed out history, made connections clearer. The upshot is that reading the stories is a bit like moving to a small town. You meet one person and then another and only a few months later do you discover that those two have History; and then over time all the rest of the connections come tumbling out - except some of them still stay hidden, teased at the edge of perception. Sourdough and the world that Slatter has created here is exactly like that.One of the things I fiercely love about the stories here and in Bitterwood is the focus on women - and that they are so very varied. Women are daughters, mothers, lovers, wives, friends, neighbours, enemies; they are skilled, bored, frustrated, vengeful, magical, lost, bewildered, smart, sacrificial, victims and heroes. They are human. Seriously, just read this. Come back and thank me later.

  • Leslee
    2019-04-19 07:09

    Angela Slatter is definitely on my must-read list now - Loved this almost as much as I loved The Bitterwood Bible. This amazing book of Dark Fairy Tales with a feminist slant feels effortless to read and draws you in from cover to cover. Definitely reminiscent of the great Angela Carter.

  • Lynne
    2019-03-24 05:20

    Captivating and intriguing from beginning to end. What an ingenious collection of short stories. What a surprise to discover this collection and the dark work of Angela Slatter. She has a brilliant mind and a true gift of storytelling.

  • Ally
    2019-04-13 09:27

    *I received this book in a firstreads giveaway. I don't usually read short stories because I find that there isn't enough space for characters to develop any depth. But these stories were great! Once you've read a few chapters, all the stories start linking together, so that each story seems more like a chapter in a novel. In reading later chapters, you learn more about the stories and characters in previous stories, until they all link up. I really liked the way this book was written - I've never read a book like this. Even though I loved the way the stories linked together, they were also good enough to be stand alone short stories. They were a perfect mix of dark, grisly and mysterious - right up my alley! Also the cover is really beautiful - I could look at it all day! I can' wait to read "The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings."

  • Kory Callaway
    2019-04-12 06:38

    This was one of the best short story collections I've read in quiet some time. One thing that can sometimes be a pain for me with reading a collection of short stories by the same author is that there winds up being too many similarities between the stories and i become bored and restless (or it might just be bad mythos fiction.) That wasn't the case with these stories at all. The one time I started to feel that way with this collection the next story completely turned me around and had me devouring the rest of the book. All the stories weave together and create a amazing portrait of a fantasy world full of strong women... Now to get the wife to read it.

  • Sean
    2019-04-10 04:27

    Darkly inventive stories that start in fantasy and fairy tale territory, but imbue that material with an element of realist psychological depth and complexity. Gripping and enchanting reading, although I couldn't entirely shake a slight element of semi-goth romance predictability in some of the language and trappings. More than compensated for by the imaginative and original take on the subject matter however.

  • Tsana Dolichva
    2019-03-24 09:35

    Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter is a collection of linked short stories — or a mosaic novel — similar to The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, but written earlier and set later in the same world.As always with Slatter's work, the writing in this book is gorgeous and the stories women-centric. I have to admit, I read it over the course of a several weeks so I lost some sense of continuity. As a result, towards the end I found myself flicking back to earlier stories trying to remember who that character with the familiar name was. I suspect this is partly to blame for my feeling that the stories are a bit less deliberately linked than those in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings. That said, I also think Slatter's writing has improved in the interim.Nevertheless, Sourdough and Other Stories was a wonderful read. I loved... too many of the stories to list them all. There were only one or two that I didn't absolutely love and, looking over the list now, only one I don't immediately recall from what I wrote about it straight after reading. Overall, a memorable collection that I highly recommend to all fantasy fans. As always, some brief thoughts on each story are below.~The Shadow Tree — A woman with a secret and knowledge of herbs punishes bratty royal children, tempting them with fairytales.Gallowberries — A young witch dealing with losing her mother and finding a substitute. Took me until the end to realise the familiarity of the characters was from a link with the novella Of Sorrow and Such.Little Radish — An unexpected Repunzel retelling. Really, there was no part of this story that I saw coming.Dibblespin — Told from the point of view of the daughter of a troll-woman, partly about her half sister and mostly about the strange goings on in their forest and the nearby town.The Navigator — A different kind of story to those preceding it. Set at sea, featuring a siren who has lost his wings and the one who loves him. A different take on sirens than others I've read.The Angel Wood — A teenage girl meets her family legacy in a story that put me in mind of the Green Man (but on a smaller scale, maybe).Ash — A short story of a witch and her revenge. I like how prone to vengeance so many of Slatter's characters turn out to be.The Story of Ink — A story of a precocious eleven year old and the questionable task she's been set by her master. An unexpected ending which I'm sure is significant but which I don't immediately know what to make of. More part of a whole than a standalone story.Lost Things — Surprisingly a kind of direct sequel to the previous story. I don't think the two stories should be read separately.A Good Husband — A story about a water sprite and a woman who sort her help. A story of cleverness and domestic violence, and the jaded sprite's response.A Porcelain Soul — The story of a girl about to graduate from a doll-making academy. But they don't make ordinary dolls, but rather infuse them with their souls to animate them. Things go wrong when the girls are working on their final projects. Definitely one of my favourite stories in this collection.The Bones Remember Everything — I saw echoes of a few different fairytales in this one, but none that it was particularly based on (as far as my limited knowledge goes). Not sure what to make of it overall. A bit dire, in a good way as far as story telling goes. A familiar name makes an appearance in the historical backstory section.Sourdough — A story about a young bread maker. Once I started reading, I was reminded of another story (by a different author) which turned out quite differently. That coloured my reading somewhat but this was still a good, solid, Slatter yarn.Sister, Sister — A little bit of what happens after the fairytale, when things aren't quite just happily ever after and another fairytale intrudes. Featuring a fallen princess, a troll-wife and chosen family. I quite enjoyed this story as well.Lavender and Lychgates — A story directly linked with "Sourdough", telling a later part of the same family's story. I was surprised at how many connections there were in this one... One of my favourite stories in this collection.Under the Mountain — Another sequel, this time to "Sister, Sister", following the daughter's story. I'm not sure I can say more about it without spoilers. An unsettling note to end the collection on.4.5 / 5 starsYou can read more of my reviews on my blog.

  • Robin Houghton
    2019-04-03 09:31

    16 stories, each skillfully interwoven to one another yet so different. Everyone Dark, chilling and disturbing, though told with a thread of light humour (and occasionally dark humour) running through them. Very observantly written, you can feel yourself there in the setting with them. As a child, I found Fairy-tales to be always unreal, a fantasy, these go beyond that, drawing you into something bordering on believable. Psychologically, these tug at you somewhere deep down, tantalisingly part exposing half-truths and half-hidden secrets, compelling you to read on, wanting to reveal fully the rest of those hidden insights.

  • Kiera
    2019-04-14 10:17

    Gorgeous collection. Each of the stories was a beautiful fairytale in itself and the way they all tied together was magnificent. The prose was wonderful, none of the stories was too long, and they all drew from the same source material while remaining astoundingly original. Good fairytales always have a lick of venom in them, and all of these did as well - sometimes inflicted on the protagonist and sometimes on their enemies. But it was always sharp and always appropriate.The spectrum of female protagonists shown here was wonderful as well: women who were innocent, mean, vindictive, kind, hurting, living, arising victorious and sacrificing themselves. Perfect.

  • Crystal
    2019-04-07 08:27

    Creepy fairy tales

  • Bluecityladyy
    2019-04-06 08:28

    An excellent Australian writer.

  • Coolcurry
    2019-03-27 09:09

    When I read the brilliant novella Of Sorrow and Such, I vowed to read more by Angela Slatter. Well, I’ve fulfilled that vow, and Sourdough and Other Stories turned out to be even better than Of Sorrow and Such. This collection of interlocking short stories is a gorgeously crafted, feminist master piece that would appeal to fans of Catherynne Valente.The stories relate to each other, with characters from one story appearing in others and events in one story rippling to lead to another. I think I’d have to read the collection again because I’m sure there were connections I was missing. Apparently, Slatter’s written other stories in this world, and I’ve already added another short story connection to my TBR list.Otherwise, what unites the story is the shared focus on women’s experiences. All stories are told in the first person, featuring heroines at different stages and walks of life. The protagonists are mothers, sisters, daughters, witches, bakers, doll makers, princesses, and prostitutes. The society they live in is patriarchal, but not all the stories are strictly about the oppression the women face. It’s a broader picture of their lives.I read the first story in Sourdough and Other Stories, finished the last page, and sat there in awe. “The Shadow Tree” is still probably my favorite story in the collection, although that might partly be because it was my introduction to Slatter’s wonderful tales. “The Shadow Tree” follows Ella, mistress of the king and sometimes caretaker of the two royal children, who are horrifically terrible people. Much more than that, I don’t want to say, but trust me when I tell you the story takes some genius twists and turns.My other favorite story is “The Navigator,” which will stick with me for a long time. It’s about the daughter of a ship’s captain who inherited her father’s fleet… but is now down to a single ship and a navigator. The navigators are an inhuman species who are captured, have their wings cut off, and enslaved. The narrator knows that her father committed a great wrong… and that she is complicit in it.I first realized the stories were connected when I read “Ash,” “The Story of Ink,” and “Lost Things.” In “Ash” we find out about a child traded to a witch. In “The Story of Ink” we find out what becomes of the child, and that tale is continued with “Lost Things,” where a girl with a map inked on her back is in disguise in a robber’s camp. “Lost Things” is probably my favorite of the three, a mind bendingly creepy tale.I don’t want to go into the details of all the stories, since so much of the joy of them is in the discovery. But other stories include “Gallow-Berries,” “Little Radish,” “Dribblespin,” “The Bones Remember Everything,” “Sister, Sister,” “Under the Mountain,” “The Angel Wood,” “A Good Husband,” “A Porcelain Soul,” “Sourdough,” and “Lavender & Lychgates.”All of these stories are wonderful; there’s not a dud in the bunch. I highly suggest reading them.Review from The Illustrated Page.

  • Suki St Charles
    2019-04-11 09:13

    I love these stories! They are dark fairytales, but also so much more. I had to take a break in between stories to catch my breath, they were so intense. (I read other reviews that called reading too many of these stories at once "dizzying". They certainly are- in the best possible way!) I had never heard of Angela Slatter before The Poisonwood Bible came up as a monthly read in one of my book groups. I read Sourdough first because the description implied that it may be something of a prequel to Poisonwood. Even if it turns out that it isn't, I am still so happy that I read it. The only thing I would have changed is that I read it in ebook format- (I always prefer the paper copy, but these are out of print, and too expensive for my budget this close to Christmas. In fact, I almost decided to skip reading this book group selection because of the ebook thing- I'm so glad I didn't!)- these stories all have connecting threads, and there were so many times I wanted to page back and refer to something in an earlier story, but that is a HUGE pain in the ass with an ebook. Later on, when I own both copies in paper form, I am definitely going to reread them and follow all the connecting threads, instead of relying mostly on memory of what I'd already read.Quick update!I just started reading the author's note at the beginning of Poisonwood Bible, and she says that, although Poisonwood was intended to be a sequel to Sourdough, it ended up being a prequel, with the stories illuminating how things and people in Sourdough came to be.

  • kriti
    2019-03-25 03:18

    the shadow tree - 4/5gallowberries - 4.5/5little radish - 4/5dibblespin - 3.5/5the navigator - 4/5the angel wood - 4/5ash - 3.5/5the story of ink - 3.5/5lost things - 4/5a good husband - 3.5/5a porcelain soul - 4/5the bones remember everything - 4/5sourdough - 4.5/5sister, sister - 3.5/5lavender and lychgates - 4/5under the mountain - 4/5

  • Michele Barnes
    2019-03-30 05:29

    wow I love this Author, and love the short story although all linked. very creative storyteller who keeps me thoroughly entertained

  • Adam Windsor
    2019-04-11 03:14

    I like a number of the gothic fairy tales in this collection, but found others to be clear misses, and the overall feel is rather too mean-spirited for my tastes.

  • Steven Smith
    2019-04-14 06:34

    I feel a bit dizzy after reading this collection! It was so rich in characters but it was like being behind a camera that would hover above the city where these stories were set before zooming in to one house or farm or wood and following the characters there for a while. Then it would suddenly zoom out and zoom in again somewhere different to follow someone else. And often, by the time we'd moved a few stories down the line, a character from earlier had moved into the later story. Or a character mentioned briefly earlier would suddenly be the grown protagonist. In some ways, the disorientation and complexity was good - it was like trying to piece together the real history of a place and people as you might come to it in life rather than in a book. However, it did make the first reading quite taxing. The writing was great. I nice mix of traditional fairy tale/historical flavour but with just the right amount of modern language or phraseology to keep it sharp and sparky and funny too. Three stars seems a bit mean I suppose. I imagine this will improve on rereading. I think there was a massive amount of underlying meaning and wisdom that I missed as I was concentrating so hard on the plots and interlinked stories and characters but the book has done enough to deserve more time being spent on it.

  • Liz
    2019-04-03 06:14

    Review is here: