From the brilliant, sui generis Anne Serre—author of the celebrated Governesses—come three delicious, thoroughly out-of-the-way tales.
Fairy-tale atmospheres and complex narratives are a hallmark of the fiction of Anne Serre, represented here by three radically heterodox novellas. The Fool “may have stepped out of a tarot pack: I came across this little figure rather late in life. Not being familiar with playing cards, still less with the tarot, I was a bit uncomfortable when I first set eyes on him. I believe in magic figures and distrust them—a figure observing you can turn the world upside down.” The Narrator concerns a sort of writer-hero: “Outcasts who can’t even tell a story are what you might call dropouts, lunatics, misfits. With them the narrator is in his element, but has one huge advantage: he can tell a story.” Little Table, Set Yourself!—a moral tale concerning a family happily polyamorous—is the most overtly a fable of these three works, the most naughty, and the briefest, but thin as a razor is thin. A dream logic rules each of these wildly unpredictable, sensual, and surreal novellas: these may be romps, but they are nevertheless deeply moral and entirely unforgettable ones.
Three wild novellas—tied together with dream logic, each of these stories plumbs the depths of desire, morality, and our willingness to go on an unpredictable ride.
—Katie Yee, LitHub
Drawing on fairy tales and psychoanalysis, pornography and poststructuralism, Serre constructs stunning and searing stories. Dreamy and deeply sexual.
In three mysterious tales, Serre explores the moral implications of self-destructive impulses, storytelling, and sexual taboo. Serre, one of France’s finest fabulists, returns in full force in this strange, beguiling collection about the perils of desire in all its forms.
Genuinely original—and, often, very quietly so. Seriously weird and seriously excellent…call it the anglerfish of literature.
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
Serre’s language is tight and fabulist, a slim and sensuous fairy tale that reads like something born from an orgy between Charles Perrault, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter.
Anne Serre’s style is perfectly controlled. Colorful, by turns elegant and violent, it provokes that enchantment borne out of an unbridled imagination.