Daniel Mallory Ortberg - The Merry Spinster - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781472154118
    • Publication date:04 Oct 2018

The Merry Spinster

Tales of everyday horror

By Daniel Mallory Ortberg

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

A collection of darkly playful stories based on classic folk and fairy tales (but with a feminist spin) that find the sinister in the familiar and the familiar in the alien. From Daniel Mallory Ortberg, author of Texts From Jane Eyre.

'Dark and dreadful and persistently clever. Ortberg bloodily turns familiar tales inside out.' Rainbow Rowell

'A collection of stories delectable, formidable, and nimble. As a fantasist and short story writer, Ortberg is without peer.' Kelly Link

'Ortberg has a voracious appetite for poison apples, and a genius for finding the places in fairyland where all the bodies are buried. The Merry Spinster will ruin your most-loved fables, in the best possible way.' Charlie Jane Anders

'Ortberg has the sloe gin wit of Dorothy Parker and the soul of a Classics nerd. It's like both of them sat next to each other in The Merry Spinster and gossiped away. The result is an absolute delight.' John Scalzi

'Ortberg has created a Frankenstein's monster of familiar narratives . . . [that swings] between Terry Pratchett's satirical jocularity and Angela Carter's sinister, shrewd storytelling, and the result is gorgeous, unsettling, splenic, cruel, and wickedly smart. I've never read anything quite like them, and I bet, Dear Reader, that you haven't either.' Carmen Maria Machado

A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently alarming, emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves and each other as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.

Biographical Notes

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is the co-creator of the Toast and the author of the New York Times Bestseller Texts From Jane Eyre.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472154101
  • Publication date: 01 Mar 2018
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Corsair
This delightfully disturbing collection . . . delivers on chills, laughs, and much more. There is plenty of humor to be had here, with Ortberg's signature biting wit and nerdy whimsy out in full force . . . Ortberg's point of view is thoughtful, insightful, and unpretentious. A wholly satisfying blend of silliness, feminist critique, and deft prose makes this a collection of bedtime stories that will keep you up at night for all the right reasons. — Kirkus, starred review
The book brings the shock of the new and the shock of recognition into play at the same time; it's a tour de force of skill, daring, and hard-earned bravura. — Publisher's Weekly, starred review
Dark and dreadful and persistently clever. Ortberg bloodily turns familiar tales inside out. — Rainbow Rowell, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Carry On
A collection of stories delectable, formidable, and nimble. As a fantasist and short story writer, Mallory Ortberg is without peer. — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
Feminist fairy tales? Just what the doctor ordered. Texts From Jane Eyre and Dear Prudence agony aunt Mallory Ortberg conjures up the kinds of stories that will hopefully scary the bogeymen - with the emphasis on "men" - away. — Elle UK, Books We're Most Excited to Read in 2018
Dear Reader: It would, truthfully, be simplest to call the stories in THE MERRY SPINSTER 'retellings,' but that word does not adequately capture their dark alchemy. Mallory Ortberg has created a Frankenstein's monster of familiar narratives. . .[that swings] between Terry Pratchett's satirical jocularity and Angela Carter's sinister, shrewd storytelling, and the result is gorgeous, unsettling, splenic, cruel, and wickedly smart. I've never read anything quite like them, and I bet, Dear Reader, that you haven't either. — Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

Mallory Ortberg has a voracious appetite for poison apples, and a genius for finding the places in fairyland where all the bodies are buried. The Merry Spinster will ruin your most-loved fables, in the best possible way.

— Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
The secret to THE MERRY SPINSTER, I think, is that she never wanted to be your wicked stepmother -- she was too busy. There are uncanny slivers of delight and recognition mixed here with the wit we all love Ortberg for, but here that wit is wielded with new force. If fairy tales are ways to describe the rules we don't dare put down on paper, in her hands they become ways to challenge those, or even to write new rules. I don't know if these stories are for bedtimes, but they are for us. — Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night

Mallory Ortberg has the sloe gin wit of Dorothy Parker and the soul of a Classics nerd. It's like both of them sat next to each other in THE MERRY SPINSTER and gossiped away. The result is an absolute delight.

— John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Lock In and Redshirts
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Texts from Jane Eyre

Daniel Mallory Ortberg
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Angela Thirkell

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) was the eldest daughter of John William Mackail, a Scottish classical scholar and civil servant, and Margaret Burne-Jones. Her relatives included the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her grandfather was J. M. Barrie. She was educated in London and Paris, and began publishing articles and stories in the 1920s. In 1931 she brought out her first book, a memoir entitled Three Houses, and in 1933 her comic novel High Rising - set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, borrowed from Trollope - met with great success. She went on to write nearly thirty Barsetshire novels, as well as several further works of fiction and non-fiction. She was twice married and had four children.

Anja de Jager

Anja de Jager is a London-based native Dutch speaker who writes in English. She draws inspiration from cases that her father, a retired police detective, worked on in the Netherlands. Anja worked in the City for twenty years but is now a full-time writer. She is currently working on the next Lotte Meerman novel.

Anna Solomon

Anna Solomon is the author of The Little Bride and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in publications including the New York Times Magazine, One Story, Ploughshares, Slate and MORE. Co-editor with Eleanor Henderson of Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers, Solomon previously worked as a journalist for National Public Radio. She was born and raised in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.

Bianca Zander

Bianca Zander is British-born but has lived in New Zealand for the past two decades. Her first novel, The Girl Below, was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and she is the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Louis Johnson New Writers' Bursary and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, recognizing her as one of New Zealand's eminent writers. She is a lecturer in creative writing at the Auckland University of Technology.

Cath Staincliffe

Cath Staincliffe is an award winning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV's hit series Blue Murder. Cath's books have been shortlisted for the CWA Best First Novel award. She was joint winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2012. Letters To My Daughter's Killer was selected for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club on ITV3 in 2014. Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey books based on the popular ITV series. She lives with her family in Manchester.

Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan's Tales series, Deathless and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

Christobel Kent

Christobel Kent was born in London and educated at Cambridge. She has lived variously in Essex, London and Italy. Her childhood included several years spent on a Thames sailing barge in Maldon, Essex with her father, stepmother, three siblings and four step-siblings. She now lives in both Cambridge and Florence with her husband and five children.

Christopher Buckley

Christopher Buckley, "the quintessential political novelist of his time" according to Fortune magazine, is the winner of the distinguished ninth annual Thurber Prize for American Humor. Tom Wolfe has described him as "one of the funniest writers in the English language." Buckley is the author of twelve books, many of them national bestsellers, including Thank You For Smoking, God Is My Broker, No Way To Treat A First Lady, Florence of Arabia, and the memoir Losing Mum and Pup.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the hugely popular Morland Dynasty novels, which have captivated and enthralled readers for decades. She is also the author of the contemporary Bill Slider Mystery series, as well as her new series, War at Home, which is an epic family drama set against the backdrop of World War I. Cynthia's passions are music, wine, horses, architecture and the English countryside.

Danielle Steel

Danielle Steel is one of the world's most popular and highly acclaimed authors, with over ninety international bestselling novels in print and more than 600 million copies of her novels sold. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina's life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; and Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved.To discover more about Danielle Steel and her books visit her website at www.daniellesteel.comYou can also connect with Danielle on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DanielleSteelOfficial or on Twitter: @daniellesteel

Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones's writing has won her several awards, including a 2009 Golden Heart in the Paranormal Category for First Grave On The Right and the 2012 RITA awards for Best New Book. She lives in New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two sons.

E. L. Doctorow

E. L. Doctorow's novels include Andrew's Brain, Homer and Langley, The March, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate and The Waterworks. Among his honours are the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. He died in July 2015.

Elizabeth Waite

Elizabeth Waite was born in Tooting, South London and lived there until she was 34. During the war she worked as a bus conductress at Merton Garage. In 1956 she and her husband moved to Devon and bought their first guesthouse. Now retired, Elizabeth lives in East Sussex. An East End Christmas is her eighteenth novel.

Eloisa James

A NEW YORK TIMES bestseller many times over, Eloisa James lives in New York City, where she is a Shakespeare professor (with an M.Phil. from Oxford). She is also the mother of two children and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

Gabriel Packard

Gabriel is the Associate Director of the Creative Writing MFA Programme at Hunter College, and has previously given seminars at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth and Wellesley. He writes a monthly 'Writers on Writing' column for The Writer magazine, and his journalism has appeared in more than 100 publications worldwide, including New York Magazine, The Village Voice and Poets & Writers. He has a BA in English from Oxford University and an MFA in fiction writing from Hunter College. He has also worked as a researcher for the novelists E.L. Doctorow, Peter Carey and worked with Jonathan Franzen on the novel he is currently completing.