After Ever After

It is said that a thing does not exist until we examine it, measure it. Fairy tales ask us what it means to be human, but it doesn't really answer the question. That is why we keep coming back to them, retelling them, exploring them again. Karen Nelson researched the stories in this collection in their many versions, often moving them forward in linear time or to other geographic locations, and retells them keeping their original themes and morals. Most notably, she looks at what might happen after the traditional closing of the original version; where the characters went, what changes were effected on them, and inserting the reality of life continuing beyond a "happily ever after." As Kate Burnheimer summarizes in Form Is Fairytale, Fairytale Is Form, ''We re-enter the dark woods again and again to see if we can find ourselves and emerge unscathed." The test is upon each of us and the only question that remains is when will we plunge into the darkness again?

Karen Nelson

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