Dark and dreadful and persistently clever. Ortberg bloodily turns familiar tales inside out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A collection of stories delectable, formidable, and nimble. As a fantasist and short story writer, Mallory Ortberg is without peer.
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.
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.