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Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold

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Perhaps it was unfair to give this implicit standards to live up to, but nevertheless they were not met.

As I grew up, this love for the wyrd and eerie remained, but I began to appreciate how this edge could be reinvented time upon time.

She herself a stranger in the land before she had dreamt of the wide flat skies and horizons, the sprawling dappled green landscape, windmills dotted along the Broads' periphery spinning like moored gods. Naomi Booth invents a character in ‘Sour Hall’ who is plagued not just by a boggart (a malevolent household spirit of English folklore well before JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise) but by her own past trauma, a theme that is also explored in her recent novel Exit Management. I only discovered this once I had already read them, but each author reads her own story, which is then followed by an interview with Prof. The stories were picked from different parts of the UK and Ireland and gave all managed to capture what the local areas have to offer. At the heart of each mystical story is a woman, who, often on the cusp of a new beginning, remains haunted by traumas from her past.

So, the copy I have did not have any of those issues, the grammar was spot on so maybe that's why I enjoyed it more. Loved learning about some lesser known folktales, and combining that with samples of writing from authors new to me. The twist in her version is a compulsively self-referential narrator, whose voice examines another problem with retelling folktales, that their details change and are often lost over time. Hag swarms with mermaids, boggarts and shape-shifters but it also explores the hopes and visceral dreads from which those creatures emerged in the human imagination .In Hag a range of brilliant female authors from Britain and Ireland were assigned a folktale and given free rein on how to adapt it. Reading the stories brought the sense of being trapped in a room, slowly, but very surely, filling up with water. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. And I can quite thankfully say that these women have only raised the bar with this collection of folk tales.

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