The Modern Fairies: A Novel (Hardcover)

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The Modern Fairies: A Novel By Clare Pollard Cover Image

The Modern Fairies: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Lauren Groff’s Matrix meets Ophelia Field’s The Favourite in this wry, sexy, and sharp historical novel—inspired by true events—featuring an elite group of Paris intellectuals who perform fairy tales that will change the course of literature—and put both the storytellers and their closely kept secrets in grave danger.

Why don’t they tell you it is the beautiful princess who becomes the evil queen; that they are just the same person at different points in their story?

At a safe distance from the intrigues of courtly life at Louis XIV’s Versailles, an intellectual crowd of mostly women have been gathering in a Parisian home to share what hostess Marie D’Aulnoy herself has christened contes de fées: fairy tales. Recently ousted from court and still raw from the death of his beloved wife, Charles Perrault finds companionship and creative camaraderie at the salon, where he eagerly joins the storytellers. Their hostess is impressive, fiercely intelligent, but somehow unreadable. She is harboring secrets of her own: sold off as a child in marriage to a brutal baron, imprisonment, scandal. Despite the vicious Versailles gossip, Marie has mysteriously been allowed to return to polite society and establish her salon in the heart of Paris.

A devastating winter soon sweeps in, bringing with it all kinds of rumors and fears. A spate of poisonings at Versailles has led to several arrests, and no matter how high born the suspect, it seems no one is safe. Paranoia stokes the King’s insecurities, and there is a wolf among the salon’s members—someone more dangerous than any force they could conjure in their own tales, watching and waiting, reporting on the secret goings-on, and threatening to destroy them one by one.

Brilliant and bawdy, witty and wise, Modern Fairies is a dazzling novel of stories within stories, familiar tales spun with fresh and provocative meaning, perfect for fans of Jenny Offill, Deborah Levy, and Angela Carter.
Clare Pollard is an award-winning poet and playwright based in London. She is the author of five poetry collections and the former editor of the Modern Poetry in Translation magazine. Her acclaimed first novel, Delphi, was a Guardian Best Book of 2022. The Modern Fairies is her second novel.

Product Details ISBN: 9781668049419
ISBN-10: 1668049414
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
"Pollard’s ribald prose is addictively amusing. . . This magnetic revisionist historical deserves a wide readership." Publishers Weekly

“Pollard vividly and powerfully evokes the tumult, passion, and creativity of this bygone era, crafting a tale that's both timeless and timely.” Booklist (*starred*)

"Clever and glittering, this beautiful novel resembles both the court and the stories it depicts." —Kirkus Reviews

"Clare Pollard has done it again! I loved this book. I was enthralled by the cast of characters and the vivid descriptions of the Sun King’s court. What really stuck out to me was the historical context of the origins of 'fairy tales' and the weight that context (the drama and machinations of Louis XIV’s France) gives them. It will dazzle you then send you down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Highly recommended!” —The Southern Bookseller Review

“An unconventional work of historical fiction to say the least, this tale of the voluble, voracious royal court of Louis XIV of France makes for an often sidesplitting, and always bawdy, read.” —The Millions, "The Great Summer 2024 Preview"

“Those in search of a bawdy fairy tale should look no further than Pollard’s novel set during the reign of Louis XIV.” Los Angeles Times, "20 new books you need to read this summer"

"Original, fantastical, historical, and unputdownable." —Karen Joy Fowler, Booker shortlisted author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“Elegant and decadent, vulgar and clever, enchanting and dark. The love child of Angel Carter and Anaïs Nin—the book I really, really needed.” —Sarah Perry, New York Times bestselling author of The Essex Serpent
“Funny, filthy, dancingly clever, The Modern Fairies is a delectable confection of many-layered pleasures. A story of stories, storytellers, and the lurking dangers of fairy tales, set against the lavish decadence of 1600s Versailles. I gobbled it all up.” —Joanna Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Whalebone Theatre

"Those in search of a bawdy fairy tale should look no further than Pollard’s novel." Los Angeles Times, "20 New Books You Need to Read this Summer"