White Cat, Black Dog


Hardcover, 272 pages

Published March 28, 2023 by Random House.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

Finding seeds of inspiration in the Brothers Grimm, seventeenth-century French lore, and Scottish ballads, Kelly Link spins classic fairy tales into utterly original stories of seekers—characters on the hunt for love, connection, revenge, or their own sense of purpose.

In “The White Cat’s Divorce,” an aging billionaire sends his three sons on a series of absurd goose chases to decide which will become his heir. In “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear,” a professor with a delicate health condition becomes stranded for days in an airport hotel after a conference, desperate to get home to her wife and young daughter, and in acute danger of being late for an appointment that cannot be missed. In “Skinder’s Veil,” a young man agrees to take over a remote house-sitting gig for a friend. But what should be a chance to focus on his long-avoided dissertation instead becomes a wildly unexpected journey, …

4 editions

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories, by Kelly Link

3 stars

What is it about folk tales that unsettles us so? If you skip past the Disney versions of fairy and folk tales (perhaps with a detour to Angela Carter, which I definitely recommend) to the original Grimm Brothers or Charles Perrault or Giambattista Basile, you’ll find stories with strange rules that twist the ordinary into the frightening or the bizarre or the surreal. Kelly Link’s collection, White Cat, Black Dog, takes inspiration from classic and lesser-known folk tales that fascinate and disturb just like their precursors...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

Review of 'White Cat, Black Dog' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Kind of an off-the-wall pick for me, as I don’t normally read/review short story collections, but I was drawn in by the premise of modern-day takes on fairy tales, and it seemed short enough to not overstay its welcome. As with most short story collections, it’s a mixed bag, but I mostly enjoyed my experience. I think the premise of giving fairy tales a modern day spin is stretching it a bit though, as most of the stories here take names and place inspiration, but not much else.

The White Cat’s Divorce (The White Cat) – 3/5, I actually knew a variation of this story from Japan, told there as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, but I thought this was a nice take. Kinda drug/pot-heavy, but still a nice tale.

Prince Hat Underground (East of the Sun, West of the Moon) – 4/5, I don’t know the source material …

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4 stars
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5 stars