The Reasonable Ogre
Much as I appreciate retellings of fairytales, reading new ones is an altogether different pleasure; especially when these are fairytales for adults or mixed audiences, i.e. the original fairytale audiences.
I started reading The Reasonable Ogre in the summer and each fairytale was so powerful that lingered in my thoughts for days or weeks after and so I postponed reading the next one in order to keep that feeling, the feeling of a story that haunts your thoughts. And haunting is not always a bad thing.
In The Reasonable Ogre you will find stories with bad endings and stories with good endings; some will be didactic, some others not, some dark, creepy and mysterious, others comforting and tender. And this is what makes this fairytale collection so beautiful, how it denies to be classified in already known categories.
Grimus the Miser is the story of the Tooth Fairy, as you’ve never imagined before. Silver reminded me of old Japanese fairytales and Sloth’s Minions of Greek myths; Wear Me Last could have been an E.T.A. Hoffmann story. Yet these are all new original tales, alluding to themes from the big well of our collective cultural past, but never repeating any old patterns; they are only being aware of them.
Complementing Mike Barnes’s flawless and captivating prose are Segbingway’s illustrations. Often reminding of illustrations of The Sandman, portrayed by different artists in Neil Gaiman’s long saga, Sebingway’s black and white strokes add to the tales in a unique way. His style changes accordingly and creates a genuine atmosphere for each story.
My thanks to Biblioasis for the review copy.