Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature – and are a natural choice for the subject of the acclaimed Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s third “mythic” anthology. Twenty-six authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (Little (Grrl) Lost), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow) and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world – each surprising, engrossing, and thought provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.
The Coyote Road, like its companions The Green Man (winner of the World Fantasy Award) and The Faery Reel (a World Fantasy Award Finalist), is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.
This collection took a long time to read. Yet, I absolutely
adored it. Mostly it took a while to read because there were so many short
stories filling the pages, and whenever I finished one, I often went searching
for more stories by the authors I was discovering. My wishlist has grown by
leaps and bounds since starting this collection.
Like many of the Ellen Datlow collections lining my shelves, the theme and collected authors in this are brilliant. Each and every story is perfectly curated to match into the theme of Tricksters. Often in surprising and confusing ways. After all, the prefect trickster never does what is expected, and many of the stories in this managed to take me by surprise.
I would suggest this collection to anybody who loves short
stories, fantasy, mythology, tricksters… really I would just suggest it to almost
anyone. There are sad stories and happy ones. Insanely complex tales and ones
that are so beautifully simplistic. Definitely one of those collections that
I’m going to read again and again.
Yuan just wants to help his brother survive, but a deal with a pair of tricksters could be his downfall… or his salvation.
I really wasn’t expecting a Trickster story with a Chinese
spin on it when I started reading this story. I was kind of expecting another Native
American / Coyote story. But I really liked the fact that there was a very
different spin on the Trickster tale. For starters, it is based in California
during the Gold Rush and features a time long gone.
The duality of an immigrant moving to a new country is
reflected in the duality of the trickster which Yuan comes across. There is the
Chinese inspired woman who is a little blood thirsty and kind of terrifying,
and then the fat American trickster who is a lot more pompous and self-centred.
They work as two sides of the same coin… the impact which the gold rush and
movements of immigrants into California during the period.
Most Trickster tales I’ve read involve the trickster getting
the better of the victim. Instead, the tables are flipped and he spends his
time figuring out the trap that has been laid for him. And, eventually it is
the victim of the deal who is able to gain the upper hand.