Re-Visions: Stories from Stories
By Meredith Sue Willis
Re-visions: Stories from Stories is a collection of spin-offs from myth, fiction, and the Bible. From a new look at Adam and Eve and why they left the Garden to a grown-up Topsy from Uncle Tom's Cabin to the confessions of Saint Augustine's concubine- each story offers a gloss on the original as well as insights into how we can live today.
The palimpsestic and generative sub-title , Stories from Stories, says it all when it comes to the genesis of tales. There is an unbroken, though far from straight, chain of tellers and listeners, repeatedly borrowing and spending in an economy of beginnings, in principios voiced around a fire whose skyborne sparks ever dim. The debt is paid off again and again, willingly, knowing that there's no such thing as something new, but rather it's a matter of what's owed and sowed by women in the first tales to children; the real heroes' tales.
Take the case of the first speaker, Monica, Augustine's teen concubine in "Sermon of the Younger Monica," who warns her charges, "the Vandals always come." Sometimes they are in the guise of warriors, other times court plotters, or serpents (isn't there always one down the hall?)– saints even, such as Augustine, who can't let one young girl be. Good, bumper-sticker-worthy advice, from women to women everywhere, which accounts for the often minatory tenor of these nine engaging stories, narrated in the first person by women of myth and legend, with Monica succeeded by Scheherazade and others, such as Topsy from Uncle Tom's Cabin.
--The Bloomsbury Review
The stories were so vivid and natural that after a while I forgot of them as based on actual classic myths and felt them alive in my modern world, real as any other stories. My favorite was the one about Lazarus (for the wonderful imagery about fire and moths and desire) --but so many engaged and moved me.
-- Leora Skolkin-Smith