Echoes: Wickedly Terrifying Tales from the Undergrowth

By Laura Dockrill

HarperCollins UK, $13.95, 336 pages

Who is this author?

Laura Dockrill is a British author, poet and illustrator who has placed high on recent lists of promising authors: in 2009 she was voted Elle magazine’s “top face to watch out for.” Doclrill has published two other books: “Mistakes in the Background” and “Ugly Shy Girl.”

In “Echoes,” she twists familiar fairy tales into stories that will surprise, shock, awe, and hopefully, amuse her readers.

What is this book about?

This seems to be the year of fractured fairy tales, what with two new TV series, “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time,” clamoring for an audience. Dockrill delves into similar territory in “Echoes,” crafting modern versions of the classic stories into what Publishers Weekly calls “a no-holds-barred mix of blood, lust, dirt, and mordant humor in this relentlessly carnal tour de force.” Here you will find new ways to look at Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and other familiar faces – if you dare. The book offers poetry, prose and illustrations, all designed to up-end your childhood memories.

Why you’ll like it:

We all know that Brothers Grimm were certainly aptly named: their bloody tales were meant to teach children moral lessons, but surely created long-lasting nightmares for their innocent young readers. Dockrill enthusiastically follows in their footsteps in her versions, and they are clearly meant for adult readers (who also may find monsters under their beds and their dreams disturbed.) Just as kids enjoyed that frisson of fear when reading the classic fairy tales, many readers will thrill to Dockrill’s up-to-date, dark and erotic fantasies.

What others are saying:

“Poetry, prose, and the author’s deliberately rough-edged illustrations are alternately horrifying and electrifying, disgusting and sickly amusing, and definitely not for children or the weak of stomach. Dockrill is fearless in extending the casual bloodthirstiness of children’s stories….this refreshing modern take on the unexpurgated pre-Victorian style of storytelling,” says Publishers Weekly. 

“Princesses, ghosts, wolves, monsters, and trolls wreak havoc while the foolish, proud, and indulgent meet a dark fate; tales you think you know are brought into our current century, then turned upside down and inside out. Magic and morality plays crash together in unexpected ways in this collection from British newcomer Dockrill….Fairy tale-loving fans of writers as diverse as Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, Gregory Maguire, and Edward Gorey won’t want to miss this unusual collection of stories and poems,” says Leigh Wright in Library Journal

Says Marie Claire magazine:  “The 24-year-old poet and storyteller takes her inspiration from Tim Burton and Roald Dahl in this gloriously off-kilter collection of modern fairy tales and poems. Beyond cool.” 

“Dockrill’s voice comes through in rich detailing and seductive energy…stories linger that long after the book’s been shut,” says Booklist

When is it available?

“Echoes” has magically appeared on the shelves of the Hartford Public Library.

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