This week’s Friday Fiction:
Isabel and I grew up in the village near Tivoli. I brought her oranges I stole from the Cardinal’s trees. She rolled her eyes at my crime but ate the fruit. I’d wanted to be a sculptor since I was a child. When I carved a rose the size of my palm to give to her, a sliver of stone flew into my right eye and carved it out. Well, I still had one eye and the feeling in two hands and heart.
“Gargoyle” by Cezarija Abartis on Burrow Press Review
My flash piece “Security” is up at First Stop Fiction! Here’s the first line: “The soldiers who came for us had their orders in the form of stamped papers out in their hands.”
Liz mailed me a wonderful surprise from New York: a stack of books, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I’ve never read, updated with JRM on the cover. Thanks, Liz! You made my week!
I’m currently reading Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, a directory of mini-biographies of various princesses—warriors, schemers, usurpers, and so forth. It was listed as one of the “Best Books Coming Out This Week” on NPR Book News, which is how I came by it. Unfortunately, I can’t pass on the recommendation. It’s a coffee table book, fun to flip through, but without real depth (or fine writing)—which is fine, I just wasn’t expecting history-lite. The mini-biographies are really mini. The tone goes for a casual flippancy that feels out of place and erodes my confidence in the writer as a serious researcher/historian. The language strives to be hip and funny but misses the mark. It’s disappointing to read a book that claims it’s trying to add dimension to the idea of “princess” as a fairy tale stereotype while discussing powerful characters in a trite, vapid tone. As a reader, I felt talked down to. The book did introduce me to a number of fascinating women I hadn’t come across before, even if several of them are figures of folklore or myth rather than actual history.