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A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories

Saga: S. & S. Nov. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9781481492157. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781481492171. FANTASY
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OrangeReviewStarMyth and fairy tale intersect with women's lives in this collection of short stories from Howard (An Unkindness of Magicians). Several feature female saints who walk among us, are yet to be saints, or try to hide from their role, as in "Saint of the Sidewalks." "Painted Birds & Shivered Bones" centers on a man cursed to turn into a bird and the woman who breaks the spell with tragic results. In the "Green Knight's Wife," the title character, tired of being used in a reality show to lure young men into life-or-death challenges, turns the tables on her husband. The Arthurian legend comes alive for a college class in "Once, Future," when students take on the characters' identities until reality and myth start to blur. In all 16 stories, Howard's reimagining of too-often minor female character perspectives is fresh and relevant.
VERDICT These brilliant stories are for readers who enjoy mythology and fantasy with a bit of depth, such as the retellings of Madeline Miller.—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

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