Book review of The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling


This anthology begins with an excellent introduction into faery lore written by Terri Windling and moves on to include engaging stories by excellent authors.

Charles de Lint, Nan Fry, and Neil Gaiman offered poetry that begs to be read aloud. Short stories by Delia Sherman and Holly Black give insight into what might happen when the land of the fay infiltrates the modern world. Katherine Vaz, Emma Bull, Hiromi Goto, Bill Congreve, and Gregory Frost’s stories provided international flare.

The Annals of Eelin-Ok by Jeffrey Ford tells of charming, short-lived creatures whose existence is empowered by child-built sand castles. Patricia A. McKillip’s Undine weaves a bit of environmentalism into her fairy tale. Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s fair folk hero shape-shifts into a deeper understanding of self. Steve Berman’s The Price of Glamour brings the curious fey into the realm of Victorian London, and Kelly Link’s work landed them in The Garment District. 

My daughter enjoyed The Dream Eaters by A.M. Dellamonica and Ellen Steiber’s Screaming for Faeries best, while Gregory Maguire’s The Oakthing and Bruce Glassco’s Never Never most appealed to my son. My absolute favorite was Tanith Lee’s Elvenbrood, with its sibling love and familial understanding. 

Charles Vess provided black and white sketches to enrich the reading experience, and at the conclusion of the book is a list of recommended further reading.

This is a lovely collection of varied stories, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the tradition that fairies are not all pixie dust and sugarplums. The varied glimpses of “beyond the veil” provided in this book is sure to leave an impression.