Once upon a time, there was a strung-out match girl who sold CDs to stoners. Twelve impetuous sisters escaped King Daddy’s clutches to jiggle and cavort and wear out their shoes. A fickle Thumbelina searched for a tiny husband, leaving bodies in her wake. And Little Red Riding Hood confessed that she kind of wanted to know what it’s like to be swallowed whole. From bloodied and blinded stepsisters (they were duped) to a chopped-off finger flying into a heroine’s cleavage, this is fairy tale world turned upside down. Ron Koertge knows what really happened to all those wolves and maidens, ogres and orphans, kings and piglets, and he knows about the Ever After. So come closer
- he wants to whisper in your ear.
Readers and fans of collections such as those of Emma Donoghue and Angela Carter will delight in the short retellings of the canonical fairytales by the multi-talented Ron Koertge. His stories are pithy, slightly acerbic, with a refreshing tongue-in-cheek flavour that will have readers giggling or smirking in response. Koertge resituates several of the stories and one of the more memorable ones is the retelling of Red Riding Hood, with the main character conveyed as a sulky teenage girl recounting the events after they have happened. I’d recommend this collection for readers who are not too attached to the traditional versions.