Last night I pulled an all-nighter to finish reading The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales. This collection is part of editor Ellen Datlow's and editor Terri Windling's ongoing series celebrating myth and contemporary fantasy around the world. Both women's professional credits are enough to ensue writer envy. They are very successful and savvy women with good taste in writing, which is why I know when I pick up one of their collections, it will deliver a beautiful journey. Also, most of the authors featured in the collections edited by Ms. Datlow and Ms. Windling support The Endicott Studio, "dedicated to myth and its expression through literary, visual, and performance arts," as the site reads. (If you are a fan of world myth, digital art, or good writing, you should really check out the links in these posts). The sites are beautiful and informative.
I always read the introductions to these collections because unlike some, they are actually entertaining. Right away, I was drawn into the book. Pat Murphy, the first author in the collection, wrote a killer story featuring Coyote as a woman, which is not unheard of, but pretty rare to read. Usually, Coyote is featured as a man. One Odd Shoe left me with a good smirk on my face.
The next tale that stuck with me was written by Delia Sherman. The Fiddler of Bayou Teche tells the haunting story of a beautiful woman outcast in her bayou community because of her looks. She may be an outcast, but she will dance you straight out of town and then some!
There were four other stories that I enjoyed too. The first was Friday Night at St. Cecelia's, by Ellen Klages , which took an interesting modern approach to Queen Mab, the fairy, and also incorporated one of my favorite pastimes -- board games. The second was by Katherine Vaz, The Chamber Music of Animals. Now this story caught my attention because it dealt with a beloved childhood stuffed animal, something I could relate to and have written about myself, and a son dying of leukemia. Her Portugese-American background gives her work an exotic, flavor of myth I cannot get enough of and I highly recommend any of her writing. The third story reminded me of living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the hikes I would take with my family out in the desert. It's The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn, written by Kim Antieau; the tale of a woman who is trying to impress her future mother-in-law with a twist. And the fourth and last tale was The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford; a delightful, whimsical story of a town caught in the spell of a dreaming wind.
If you like what you read in these collections, Ms. Datlow and Ms. Windling have thoughtfully included a list of fiction, non-fiction, and trickster studies for further reading -- another reason why I love their contemporary fantasy collections because I can always get my hands on lots of good new reading to keep me up at night!
I hope you pick up this book and find it as much of a treasure as I do.
As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!