Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner

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Book Information  
AuthorSylvia Townsend Warner
TitleKingdoms of Elfin
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Victor Field 
(May 15, 2007)

This volume of short stories first published in the New Yorker in the 1970s, examines the traditional European idea of "fairy" folk from a new and thoroughly original angle. A committed Marxist for much of her working life, Warner is more prone to consider her "elfins" as marginalised social groups in contrast with society as a whole. Where supernatural elements are incorporated, they are treated as simple matters of fact. Each story is an examination of one kind of folly, human or inhuman. In a late interview, Warner stated that the stories were a way of leaving aside the human heart 'which I was growing all too familiar with' - since fairies/elfins have no souls. The stories range from the wild high comedy of "The Power of Cookery" and "The Blameless Triangle" to the tragic force of "Winged Creatures" (of which Wallace Shawn is said to have remarked, 'That ending will be remembered') An entirely unique collection by one of the 20th century's most gifted writers. NOTE: 3 further uncollected Elfin stories appear in "One thing leading to another", a posthumous story collection.

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