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A Wild Swan

by Michael Cunningham

Looking for happy ever-after fairy tales? This isn't for you! But if you relish wry humour with a generous helping of irony, look no further.

Extract

The twelfth brother can be found, most nights, in one of the bars on the city's outer edges, the ones that cater to people who were only partly cured of their curses, or not cured at all. There's the three-hundred-year-old woman who wasn't specific enough when she spoke to the magic fish, and found herself crying, 'No, wait, I meant alive and young forever,' into a suddenly empty sea. There's the crownletted frog who can't seem to truly love any of the women willing to kiss him, and break the spell. There's the prince who's spent years trying to determine the location of the comatose princess he's meant to revive with a kiss, and has lately been less devoted to searching mountain and glen, more prone to bar-crawling, given to long stories about the girl who got away.

Parallels

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
 

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