A Wild Swan

  • by Michael Cunningham
  • Narrated by Lili Taylor, Billy Hough
  • 2 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
Re-imagined 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."


What the Critics Say

"Over and over, [narrators] 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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

fairy tales updated for the modern adult set

there was only one story i didn't love in this collection. really well conceived, clever, sometimes edgy stories that put traditional fairy tale stories on their heads.

loved it.
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- Beth Anne "i like to read. i like to listen."

Darkly fractured fairy tales

These fairy tales aren't just fractured, they're darkly twisted and nearly broken in places. But uniquely so, in a way not seen in other retold fairy tales. I couldn't stand The Hours, but this short story collection examines some of the same themes with far more interesting consequences. The narrators are appropriately expressive, and the GarageDogs' music is seamlessly integrated.
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- CaitlĂ­n Mitchell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-10-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio