Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.
Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.
Title: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings | Author: Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman | Publisher: Greenwillow books | Pub. Date: 26 June 2018 | Pages: 336 | ISBN: 9780062671172 | Genre: Fantasy | Language: English | Starred Review: Yes | Source: Library
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings Review
‘A Thousand Beginnings and Endings’ is hard to place genre-wise. It’s a collection of short stories by modern Asian authors, all based on myths and legends from Asian culture. With that brief I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the end product is a delicious free for all. There’s fantasy, supernatural horror, science fiction and contemporary romance. As with most short story collections by multiple contributors, not every story blew me away, but there was a lot to enjoy.
There are fifteen stories in total, each about twenty or thirty pages long and followed by a brief piece on the myth or folklore that inspired it. Those sections were almost as much fun to read as the stories themselves, with the authors explaining the personal and cultural importance of the original tales. Asia is a big place (duh!), and the range of countries and cultures represented here evidences that. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India and more are featured, giving a glorious variety to the stories and a rich flavour to the collection.
It offers up such delights as exotic fairy tales, subtle and moving ghost stories, epic battles in intergalactic conflicts, children discovering goblins, teenage vampires, star-crossed lovers and dance competitions. My favourite story concerned a young girl, a dead mother and an MMORPG. It was subtle, imaginative and emotional. It’s also typical of the stories in the book in that it gives a modern twist to old themes. These are often tales of what it means to be a human, the common things that transcend time, culture and geography. Family, love, rivalry, the need to find one’s place in the world. All these things are wrapped up in stories that are engaging and packed with many small details of Asian life and culture.
Taken together they make a fascinating and enjoyable book that’s easy to read and consistently enjoyable. It’s introduced me to a number of writers I’m sure I’ll be reading more from in the future.
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