Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories - A Short Story Collection with Gay Characters

By Holly Black

Published in 2010 by Big Mouth House

Suggested by one of our readers, Steph, this collection does a great job of grounding fantasy in reality. For example, it features faeries living in New York City. "The Poison Eaters" contains two well-crafted short stories with homosexual characters. Holly Black, best known for The Spiderwick Chronicles, sucks you into her world of faeries and other mythical creatures. While these two stories are the only ones with queer characters, each of the 12 short stories in "The Poison Eaters" is incredibly fun to read.

The Coat of Stars
Every night Rafael and Lyle would sneak out to a mattress in the woods and make love, despite Lyle’s grandmother’s warnings about the faeries living there. One day Lyle tells Rafael that he has actually seen the faeries, but just as the two boys are about to run off to New York, Lyle is discovered dead. Rafael moves to New York and becomes a successful tailor, but still can’t get over his loss. On one of his trips home to New Jersey, Rafael discovers that Lyle is actually with the faeries and he could bring him back with his tailoring talents.

The Land of Heart’s Desire
Roiben, a faerie king, goes to New York City to visit his girlfriend Kaye, a fellow faery, who owns the Moon in a Cup coffee shop. There, he finds out that Kaye’s best friend Corny has been marketing the café as a place where people can spot faeries. Roiben is angered until he meets someone who has a link to his past. Corny and Roiben then bond over Corny’s problems with his ambitious boyfriend Luis. This story is a great blend of reality and fantasy. (Lee's note: Yes, these are some of the same characters in the same world as in Holly Black's books Tithe, Valiant and Ironside.)

--Posted by Hannah

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