The classic Grimms’ fairy tale of the valiant little tailor, as you’ve never read it before
“A creative take on storytelling, suggesting the potential in even the most familiar tale, with Chevillard riffing comfortably across subject-matters and stories old and new.”—M. A.Orthofer, Complete Review
Once upon a time, there lived a valiant little tailor who killed seven flies with one blow—but who is this narrator who has abruptly inserted himself into the story, claiming authorship? He’s indignant: the fairy tale, borne carelessly along by the popular imagination, subjected to the transformations of oral tradition, was collected in a lamentable state by the Brothers Grimm, and he intends to restore the tale and its giant-slaying, unicorn-fighting, boar-hunting star to their original magnificence. But the true hero of the story remains to be seen: Is it the tailor, the narrator, or someone else entirely?
In this explosive retelling of the classic tale, Éric Chevillard enlists the reader in a dizzying game of crack-the-whip, with new directions and delights in every paragraph. At once irreverent and deeply sincere, this book is a mischievous, multifarious celebration of the power of stories and those who tell them.
Éric Chevillard (b. 1964) is an award-winning French author of over twenty works of fiction, known for his innovative prose. Jordan Stump is professor of French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the translator of over thirty works of French fiction.
“Chevillard can be exhilarating, as he breathes powerful life into words, creating a sense of poetic animism”—Muriel Zagha, Times Literary Supplement
“A creative take on storytelling, suggesting the potential in even the most familiar tale, with Chevillard riffing comfortably across subject-matters and stories old and new.”—M. A. Orthofer, Complete Review
“This novel, superbly translated by Jordan Stump, is vintage Chevillard. A fairy tale for our time, it is engagingly playful, telling a story we thought we knew, prompting us to think about how stories are told.”—Warren Motte, author of Mirror Gazing
“Here’s Chevillard at his cockeyed keenest, bedeviling the Brothers Grimm with a giddy vengeance. Jordan Stump once again proves a superb chaperone on this deliciously macabre, deliriously digressive, almost irresponsibly imaginative field trip into the bowels of narrative.”—Daniel Levin Becker, author of Many Subtle Channels
“As Chevillard reinvents, subverts, and digresses from the Brothers Grimm tale, his wit and wordplay leap into life in Jordan Stump’s breathtaking translation. A book not to be missed by anyone new to Chevillard’s antics, or by his longtime, faithful readers.”—Alyson Waters, translator of Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times
“Chevillard takes a Grimms’ fairy tale and runs rings around it, torquing and twisting it into new half-shapes. Amusing, maddening, funny, and absurd, this is a new sort of metafiction, like Robert Coover on acid.”—Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World
“Éric Chevillard’s sly, clever, imaginative tales reimagine how to tell a story.”—Madeleine Schwartz, journalist and advisory editor for Paris Review
Praise for Éric Chevillard:
“Chevillard [is] one of the bright spots in recent French literature.”—Publishers Weekly
“A major talent, a worthy descendant in the Beckett-Bernhard line.”—Darren Reidy, The Believer
“Éric Chevillard is one of the few great experimental French writers still writing today.”—Erik Martiny, London Magazine
“Beloved for his playful and sharply intelligent fiction, Éric Chevillard is a voice worthy of a global readership.”—Music and Literature
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