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Armless Maiden, The [Hardcover]

Tor Books


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Book Description

March 22 1995
An exploration of the benefits of a fantasy life for victims of childhood abuse combines the works of such author as Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, and Steven Gould with essays on the transforming powers of fairy tales.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (March 22 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312852347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312852344
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 15 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,597,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In her introduction to this powerful collection of modern-day fairy tales, Windling (editor of the Snow White, Blood Red series) lays out the familiar case that fairy tales are often representations of the psychological terrors of childhood. But she goes beyond the symbolic, invoking statistics about child abuse and molestation to make the case that the transmuting of actual trauma into narrative is demonstrably therapeutic: that fairy tales have the power to act as tools of healing and guides to survival for victims of childhood abuse. The collection consists of 26 stories, 17 poems and a scattering of nonfiction pieces, most of them original to this volume. Many of the selections are retellings of older tales, sometimes transplanted to contemporary settings. Steven Gould's "The Session" puts a modern spin on the Snow White story; Tanith Lee's "She Sleeps in a Tower" presents a darker look at Sleeping Beauty; Ellen Steiber draws on a Brothers Grimm tale, "Brother and Sister," for her story "In the Night Country." Other authors adapt fairy-tale motifs and structures into original tales, as Jane Yolen does in "The Face in the Cloth," Munro Sickafoose in "Knives" and Tappan Wright King in "Wolf's Heart." Though treating common themes, the selections employ a variety of tones and styles that keep the collection from being monotonal. They might have been better arranged, however, since most of the stories that focus specifically on sexual abuse appear in the book's first half and begin to lose force through repetition.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead-serious fairy tales Nov. 5 2001
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love adult fairy tales, but it seems that all too often, writers pump up the sex and violence to render the tales "adult", rather than more deeply exploring the human emotional dramas in the stories. Maybe that's why I love _The Armless Maiden_. The tales and poems here do include sex and violence, yes, but at their heart is the triumph of the human spirit.
If we look carefully at fairy tales, many of them are actually about what we would now call child abuse. Cinderella was neglected. Handel and Gretel were abandoned. Donkeyskin suffered incest. And there are so many more. And in most of the stories, the protagonist rises above the situation somehow--in the old versions, usually by gaining fortune and position. In the stories in _The Armless Maiden_, the triumph is more often psychological. I read once--I think it was in a book by Marina Warner--that the essential theme of the fairy tale is transformation. In these stories, we see victims transformed into survivors.
These are serious fairy tales for our times, and I recommend the book both to abuse survivors and to those who did not suffer abuse (trust me, everyone knows someone who did). My personal favorite contributions are Emma Bull's poem about Cinderella's stepsister regretting the friendship they never had, and Ellen Kushner's "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep", the story of a young girl in the custody of a cold-hearted guardian, and haunted by the ghost of the woman's unhappy daughter.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for everyone, but especially survivors of abuse. Jan. 12 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book has a myriad of short stories, poems, & essays about survivors of child abuse. They are all worked around fairy-tale themes but not Disneyified: no handsome prince comes to rescue a child; instead, these children escape through their own courage & perseverance. An AMAZING book. A shame it is out of print--but I've seen copies used & in remainder bins at bookstores so do yourself a favor & keep looking! This book will make you shudder, weep, cringe, but ultimately leaves you w/a feeling of hope. All the pieces are good, but standouts include Terri Windling's, Charles De Lint's, Ellen Steiber's, & Munro Sickafoose's. Another wonderful aspect is that Windling ignores genre boundaries & hence you see authors such as Sharon Olds & Anne Sexton represented as well. Highly recommended!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, Terrible, and Wonderful Nov. 4 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book changed my life. I had always enjoyed books edited by Terri Windling, so when I saw her name, it was an automatic purchase. All the stories were excellent, though somewhat harrowing. But it was Ms. Windling's afterward at the end that reduced me to tears. The idea of her going through all that and surviving, even thriving, truly stunned me with her courage. And that is the theme to this book, surviving. When I was done, I sat back and took a long hard look at my own life. And I knew that if she could survive and live, I could too. I won't go into what happened in my childhood, but I had never dealt with it, and it was killing me inside. But after I read this, I got help. Thanks to a kind counsellor, I am happier now than I have ever been. And I have the courage to say yes to life. Read this book. Even if you have never been abused, the insights are invaluable. Also I would recommend 'Deerskin' by Robin McKinley.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales are not just for children Feb. 22 2003
By Ashareh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This anthology is one of the most emotionally wrenching and satisfying collections of stories that I've read-not just from fantasy authors, but from anyone. Dealing with the darker aspects of childhood, including abuse and alienation, the stories and poetry are full of depth and transformation; magic, despair, and ultimately hope. Some exceptional stories are "The Armless Maiden" by Midori Snyder, "The Juniper Tree" by Peter Straub, "The Lion and the Lark" by Patricia McKillip, "The Lily and the Weaver's Heart" by Nancy Etchemendy, "In the House of My Enemy" by Charles De Lint, and "In the Night Country" by Ellen Steiber. The poems are all beautiful. This book is definitely on my desert island list.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this book out of print? July 9 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a short review.
Actually, this is not a review atall, although I should say it, shortly and to the point: The ArmlessMaiden is a gorgeous anthology, one of the best I've ever read.
This is just a message to people who might stumble upon it in a bookstore or library.
The message is: read it.
You will not be disappointed.

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