Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Sunday Salon (Post the Second)

Yes, I'm back again with a second Sunday Salon post. Again, a review of a great book that revolves around fairy tales.

I just finished the seventh volume of Bill Willingham's Fables series, Arabian Nights (and Days). For the uninitiated, the Fables series chronicles the plight of a group of fairy tale, fable, folklore, and nursery rhyme characters from many a varied cultural tradition (although the European tales take center stage). In this installment several Arabian characters--Sinbad, first and foremost--visit the Fabletown complex in New York City to discuss an alliance against the Adversary that's slowly taking over Fable homelands. Alliance building is a tricky business, and as the blurb on the back cover asserts, the Arabian Fables are concealing Weapons of Magical Destruction!

As silly as it might sound in blurb form, this series is one of my favorites for several reasons, two of which are:

  • Its ability to wonderfully and cleverly reimagine classic folk and fairy tale characters in extremely unique ways. Willingham pays homage to classic tales from the Grimms, Charles Perrault, et al, and simultaneously reinvents them for a contemporary audience. For more on this, read my Master's thesis, "More Than 'Interesting Dead Things': The Reanimation of the Oral Tradition Through Narrative Subversion and Visual Narrative Performance." It's all about this concurrent truth to tradition and reinvention.

  • The whole series is a witty and biting critique of current race relations and political endeavors. Willingham makes reference to Jewish diaspora, contemporary race relations in America, and now, obviously, America's relationship with middle eastern nations and weapons of mass destruction.

It's just all so extremely well done--veiled inside a web of intertextuality and fun. Breathtaking. Just freakin' awesome.

If you haven't yet started reading the Fables series...get on it. You're missing out otherwise.

And for the sake of recordkeeping, this is my first book for the Once Upon a Time II challenge, the 2008 TBR Challenge, AND the Graphic Novels challenge.


  1. I really love this series so far, but have only read the first two. I hope to read at least three and four this year. It's great to see it lives up to the initial standard of the early ones.

  2. Just wanted to stop by to say thanks for the Sunday Salon warm welcome! I really look forward to meeting new bloggers. :)

  3. Rhinoa, I haven't been displeased with the series yet. Admittedly, I like the ones about war and battles less than the others about love and whatnot (I'm such a girl!), but they're really all very good and hold to a high standard. Enjoy the journey!

    Thanks for stopping by, J. Kaye!

  4. Like Rhinoa I've only read the first two books, but I definitely plan on reading more. In fact you're making me want to order a few more right now. From what I've read so far, I definitely agree that it's an extremely intelligent and well done series.

  5. Nymeth, after I finished my thesis I sort of stepped away from these books because I was supremely tired of reading them over and over, but now that I'm onto the newer ones, I'm thoroughly engrossed again. In fact, I have vol. 8, Wolves, on my shelves to read, but I need to order #10: Sons of Empire soon. In fact, I have a gift card to burn, so I might just do that now!

  6. This looks like a great book! I'm glad to hear ypu're out of your slump.

  7. Finally! I'm so glad you've started reading these again! Bill Willingham is such a genius.

    Now keep going! :Þ

  8. Andi,

    Would you please drop me a line at bookfoolery at yahoo dot com?


  9. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I will return the compliment and say that I enjoyed your post and I look forward to reading more of your entries!

  10. Nothing like knocking one book off THREE challenges! I've turned into a terrible challenge participant. Too much going on these days.

  11. Good to meet up on the Sunday Salon. I like your blog too! Love the dog photos and video, what a hoot. I'm adding your blog to my list!

    Enjoy your spring break, hope it's fun and restful.

  12. Thanks to you, I'm hooked - I've read #1-9 and am going to read 1001 Nights of Snowfall to tide me over until my local library buys #10 :)

  13. Thanks, Nyssaneala! I'm glad I'm out of it, too!

    Heather, I'm going! I just finished the last one I have. Eek!

    Thanks for coming by, Beastmomma!

    Les, I hear ya. That's the only book I overlapped quite that much. More incentive to read it! lol

    Thanks for stopping in, Terri!

    I'm so glad you like them, April! You'll totally love 1001 Nights of Snowfall, too. It's gorgeous.

    LOL, Amanda!

  14. Fables is wonderful and I am such a bad and unfaithful reader. I still continue to pick up the monthly issues as they come out because those James Jean covers are so damn amazing. I should just wait and pick it up in graphic novel format as I'd be more likely to keep up with it...I am many, many issues behind. 20 I believe. However I keep hoping it will get the Absolute treatment like Sandman and New Frontier. Though expensive I would love to have them in that oversized, bound, hardback format.


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