Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pg 69: "The Complete Tales of Merry Gold"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Kate Bernheimer's The Complete Tales of Merry Gold.

About the book, from the publisher:

Obsessive, prudish, and cold, Merry Gold lives in denial of her own condition. This seamstress — the eldest and meanest of the three Gold sisters — possesses a tarnished past and faces a bleak and lonely future. Guilty about her destructive desires and longing for innocence, her inner turmoil and explosive imagination belie a disarming honesty.

A sequel to The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold, the novel follows Merry from her suburban childhood through design school and a whirlwind of lovers, and into a desolate adulthood. Beginning with a toy seal and ending with mushrooms, this fairy tale set in modern times creeps through cruelty and violence to its inevitable end.

Reminiscent of a miniature, fragile ice sculpture, The Complete Tales of Merry Gold glistens with hard-hearted bliss. Kate Bernheimer has once again delved into the internal anguish of the Gold family to extract a magical, carefully stitched tale of strange and happy fear.

Among the praise for the novel:

"This is indeed a remarkably skillful performance, and the brilliance of Bernheimer’s achievement is spectacular. This is a novel of great power, one that will be of interest to every thoughtful reader."
—Bob Williams

"Here simmers witchery: the black magic of an ominous femininity. The little match girl has cut her teeth and her smile glitters with subversion and an irresistible malevolence."
—Rikki Ducornet

"Kate Bernheimer's fiction offers a unique and delicate gift, the tempting mirage of a grace that constantly escapes. The Complete Tales of Merry Gold is an exceptional, lovely book, beautifully enigmatic, speaking a language that mysteriously evokes the unspoken."
Lydia Millet

"A real gem, my favorite book of the year. A novel so simple and beautiful that you forget how hard it is to pull off simple and beautiful. Bernheimer's second novel is a great, great success."
—Willy Vlautin

Read an excerpt from The Complete Tales of Merry Gold.

Kate Bernheimer is the author of two novels based on German, Russian and Yiddish fairy tales, The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold and The Complete Tales of Merry Gold, editor of a collection of essays, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University and her MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her forthcoming books include Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales, and The Girl in the Castle inside the Museum, a children's book (Random House, 2008). She is also editor of the literary journal Fairy Tale Review.

She is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at The University of Alabama.

The Page 69 Test: The Complete Tales of Merry Gold.

--Marshal Zeringue