Download A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Audiobook

A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Audiobook, by Michael Cunningham Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Michael Cunningham Narrator: Lili Taylor, Billy Hough Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2015 ISBN: 9781427262226
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Fairy tales for our times from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours A poisoned apple and a monkey's paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan's wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away—the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder—are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation. Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed: the years after a spell is broken, the rapturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly realized, or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse. The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child. A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother's basement to getting a job, until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans. Reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true. Program contains music composed specifically for the audiobook by Billy Hough and his bandmates in GarageDogs. Billy Hough says: "The original piece 'A Wild Swan' was written as a gift to Michael, due to my incredibly strong reaction to hearing these beautiful stories for the first time. I enlisted the brilliant Lili Taylor to alternate the stories with me, and wrote a series of short pieces of music, for their eventual inclusion on this album. I wanted to use the music to illustrate the tension between the ancient and the modern, much in the same way Michael has done in the stories themselves."

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Quotes & Awards

  • “For the stories in A Wild Swan, Cunningham has dug out caves of humanity, humor and depth behind some well-known characters.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The latest from Cunningham (The Snow Queen) offers elegant, sardonic retellings of ten iconic fairy tales…Cunningham’s tales enlarge rather than reduce the haunting mystery of their originals. Striking black-and-white images from illustrator Shimizu add a fitting visual counterpoint to a collection at once dark and delightful.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The original tales are timeless for good reasons, and by approaching them from a fresh and astute perspective with humor and compassion, Cunningham revitalizes their profound resonance. Imaginatively illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, this is a dazzling twenty-first-century fairy-tale collection of creative verve and keen enchantment. Cunningham’s high stature and the book’s irresistible premise will attract lively media attention and reader curiosity.”

    Booklist

  • Michael Cunningham writes some of the most beautiful prose in contemporary American fiction. —Wendy Smith, The Daily Beast

  • Taylor and Hough dramatize these newfangled tales with youthful charm and subtle savagery, easily swinging from the author’s gentle humor into darker recesses. —Publishers Weekly
  • Over and over, Taylor and Hough offer up the prettiest rose for us to sniff and at just the right moment, let the thorn prick us. Their pacing is immaculate. —AudioFile Magazine, winner of an Earphones Award
  • Modern, wicked, dark and accompanied by original music, these are enhanced by the narrators, who veer between charm and ferociousness. Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Among longlisted titles for Slate Book Review Best Books of the Year, 2015
  • Among longlisted titles for NPR Best Book of the Year, 2015

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the nonfiction book, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown. He teaches at Yale University.