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Fairy Tales for Adults

These fantasy picks use familiar childhood themes and characters to explore the complexities of adult life.

Cadnum, Michael
Can't Catch Me
An edgy collection that plays fast and loose with fairy tales, Greek gods, and elves.
 
Carter, Angela
Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
Angela Carter's collected short stories are mythical, macabre, and stirring. True to the fairy tales that clearly inspire her work, the pulsing prose combines love and death in single stories.
 
Coover, Robert
Briar Rose
What is desire? A sleeping princess wrestles with this timeless mystery in her dreams.
 
Datlow, Ellen and Terry Windling
Black Heart, Ivory Bones
One of a popular series of collected fairytales for adults.
 
Datlow, Ellen and Terry Windling
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
A collection of updated fairy tales by many different contemporary authors including Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Lannes.
 
Maguire, Gregory
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Did you ever wonder what was so bad about the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? According to Gregory Maguire-not that much. Born with strange green skin, Elphaba (the wicked witch's real name) is a regular girl with body-image issues and an intense interest in animal rights. Her troubling childhood is boldly portrayed as well as her grief at her sister's untimely death by house-crushing. This innovative take on a children's classic became a smash hit Broadway musical in 2004.
 
Sexton, Anne
Transformations
These stories are in a form reminiscent of epic poetry and retell seventeen Grimm fairy tales in haunting prose.
 

Updated:04/04/2011