The Monkey's Wedding by Joan Aiken
and Other Stories

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Synopsis

Joan Aiken’s short stories of the gothic, the uncanny, and the unexpected have captivated readers for fifty years. They’re funny, smartly observed, and occasionally very, very scary. The nineteen stories collected here for the first time include two previously published under the pseudonym Nicholas Dee as well as six stories never before published. There are also two introductions: one by Aiken herself, and the other by Lizza Aiken, her daughter.

A Monkey’s Wedding is a traditional description for a sunshower. This phenomenon (simultaneous sunshine and showers) has a wide range of folkloric names which refer to the marriage of ‘trickster’ animals such as hyenas, foxes, or jackals—or even the devil. It’s as if the sun girl and rain man unexpectedly walked out of the weather house at the same time: something is going to happen. It might also stand as a characteristic metaphor for Joan Aiken’s work: for the sometimes humorous and sometimes bittersweet triumph of the human spirit in adversity.

A village is for sale . . . or is the village itself the story? On his deathbed a vicar declares he might have lived an entirely different life, and then a large, black, argumentative cat makes an appearance. . . . As the marriage of dairy maid and an artist comes apart, the dairy maid volunteers to be shot out a cannon. And in the cover story, “A Mermaid Too Many,” a sailor brings home a present for his intended—but of course, as is liable to happen in a Joan Aiken story, nothing goes as he intended.
 

About Joan Aiken

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Joan Aiken, daughter of the American writer Conrad Aiken, was born in Rye, Sussex, England, and has written more than sixty books for children, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
 
Published April 19, 2011 by Small Beer Press. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Even in her more realistic stories, there's a sense of people getting pulled by unexplained or unseen forces, most affectingly in "The Monkey's Wedding," in which an elderly artist goes to reclaim his celebrated painting of a German-occupied Eastern European town, 50 years after the work fell int...

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Publishers Weekly

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Focusing largely on prolific British fictionist Aiken's early works from the late 1950s and early 1960s, this imaginative posthumous collection includes among others six never before published short stories and two originally published under a pseudonym.

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Monkey's Wedding: and Oth...

Kirkus Reviews

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They have already reprinted one collection of Aiken’s short stories, The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories, and a collection of her Amitage Family Stories for younger readers, The Serial Garden.

Nov 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Monkey's Wedding: and Oth...

California Literary Review

As Aiken’s narrator sweetly laments, “No moral to this story, you will be saying, and I am afraid it is true.” Related articles: Centuria: 100 Ouroboric Novels by Giorgio Manganelli The Nimrod Flipout – by Etgar Keret The Cape May Stories by Robert C.S.

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Monkey's Wedding: and Oth...

Weird Fiction Review

I intended to read Joan Aiken’s retrospective collection methodically, one story at a sitting, but that’s not what happened.

Dec 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Monkey's Wedding: and Oth...

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