Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Merry Spinster

The Merry Spinster

Tales of Everyday Horror

Mallory Ortberg

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A collection of darkly playful stories based on classic folk and fairy tales (but with a feminist spin) that find the sinister in the familiar and the familiar in the alienfrom Mallory Ortberg, author of Texts From Jane Eyre.

From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series, "The Merry Spinster" takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature has become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg's boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg's oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.

Reviews

Praise for The Merry Spinster

"A wholly satisfying blend of silliness, feminist critique, and deft prose makes this a collection of bedtime stories that will keep you up at night for all the right reasons." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ortberg’s sly, scathing renditions. . . .strike directly at the heart. . . . .The book brings the shock of the new and the shock of recognition into play at the same time; it’s a tour de force of skill, daring, and hard-earned bravura." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Dark and dreadful and persistently clever. Ortberg bloodily turns familiar tales inside out." Rainbow Rowell, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Carry On

"A collection of stories delectable, formidable, and nimble. As a fantasist and short story writer, Mallory Ortberg is without peer." —Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

"Dear Reader: It would, truthfully, be simplest to call the stories in THE MERRY SPINSTER ‘retellings,’ but that word does not adequately capture their dark alchemy. Mallory Ortberg has created a Frankenstein’s monster of familiar narratives. . .[that swings] between Terry Pratchett’s satirical jocularity and Angela Carter’s sinister, shrewd storytelling, and the result is gorgeous, unsettling, splenic, cruel, and wickedly smart. I’ve never read anything quite like them, and I bet, Dear Reader, that you haven’t either." Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

"Mallory Ortberg has a voracious appetite for poison apples, and a genius for finding the places in fairyland where all the bodies are buried. The Merry Spinster will ruin your most-loved fables, in the best possible way." Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

"The secret to THE MERRY SPINSTER, I think, is that she never wanted to be your wicked stepmother--she was too busy. There are uncanny slivers of delight and recognition mixed here with the wit we all love Ortberg for, but here that wit is wielded with new force. If fairy tales are ways to describe the rules we don't dare put down on paper, in her hands they become ways to challenge those, or even to write new rules. I don't know if these stories are for bedtimes, but they are for us." Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night

"Mallory Ortberg has the sloe gin wit of Dorothy Parker and the soul of a Classics nerd. It’s like both of them sat next to each other in THE MERRY SPINSTER and gossiped away. The result is an absolute delight." —John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of Lock In and Redshirts

Reviews from Goodreads

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