Magical Journeys: Beauty
By Claire Steele
Albert Einstein famously said ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy stories. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy stories.’
Fairy tales are at the heart of who we are and how we understand the world. They embody the deep, opposing forces of good and evil, the monstrous and the divine.
Are you sitting comfortably? Beauty is a collection of twelve contemporary fairy stories arising out of the Magical Journeys writing workshops. These are stories for adults and children, which offer powerful retellings of the familiar tales of our childhood and also new fairy stories in which the idea of magic is revised and explored in the modern world. Here are wicked tales and tales of beauty. Here is what the world might look like if women didn’t need to be rescued, or if we acknowledged the things that are truly monstrous: exploitation, envy, poverty, greed. These are tales shot through with desire and darkness, light and redemption. Fairytales are amongst the first stories we learn about our society and in this collection are twelve new interpretations of what those stories might mean today.
“The idea that fairytales are just for children is belied”
The fairytale genre has a universal appeal, not least because of its empowering, archetypal accounts of how to overcome evil, to humanise barbaric forces and to discover compassion and independence. The idea that fairytales are just for children is belied, not just by the people who read them and write them, but also by the history of these tales of enchantment. Arising out of an oral tradition, these stories were among the first tales to embody the idea of transformation, the idea of the miraculous, to strengthen community and make a better world. Like the original tales, here you will encounter stories about human desires, resurrections, enchantments and curses. Breaking the spell spells emancipation. It can come as no surprise, then, that the literary fairy tale has provided such rich territory for contemporary writers keen to explore the tales as metaphors for reclaiming power and identity.
Each of these tales invites you into a space of wonder. Wonder has no antonym, being equally composed of terror and delight. You are invited to read these stories in that state of wonder: in the expectation that now, anything might happen. The stories move from the naïve to the knowing in exactly the same ways that a shape-shifting monster or godmother might, in order to alter the story irrevocably and bring in that sense of wild possibility that liberates us from the mundane and elevates us into a world of pure pleasure.
“anything might happen”
From Cinderella to Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard to the Ice Queen, from wicked stepmothers to IT gremlins, monstrous husbands to gentle nymphs, and from fairy frogs to red shoes, these stories take you through a wide-ranging exploration of the dark and brilliant spaces of the contemporary fairytale. With luck, and the right kind of wish, you might just make it to the Happy Ever After.
Beauty is available to order now on Amazon, expect delivery mid-August: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beauty-Magical-Journeys/dp/1909227919/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=beauty+mardibooks&qid=1565093764&s=gateway&sr=8-1