f u g u e s t a t e p r e s s
P.O. Box 80, Cooper Station
New York, NY 10276
by Kathleen Bryson
$20.00 542pp. ISBN 978-1-879193-30-7
"Like a psychedelic Angela Carter for the 21st century, Bryson takes us into the darkest reaches of the forest, only to pull us out again to catapult us into the future. Creation myths collide with apocalypse culture to dazzle the reader into an altered state. In this powerful, liberation paean to nature, the reader can wriggle free from the mendacious venom of the machine-code world and run wild with the horned goddess, where the tree is the first of all gods and suns are older than clocks...
"On Florentine's eighth birthday, she goes to the lake--the dangerous lake by her family's woodland home--and sees her reflection in the silvered surface of the water. Two bumps are forming on the top of her head--vestigial horns...Like all the best fairy tales, Florentine's world is not benign or cosy. Snows bring death, baying predators howl during the Wild Hunt, and too often there's only chargrilled owl for supper. But if you are brave and curious, it is also a numinous realm where questing beasts share knowledge and uncommon sense, and forest-dwellers remember the true meaning of sacrifice."
--Kerri Sharp, Atlantis Bookshop, London
THE STAGTRESS by Kathleen Bryson is a holy book, a syncretic novel of scientific, pagan, xtian, gnostic, and folkloric imagery.
It's about a little girl who starts to grow stag antlers.
Kathleen Bryson, the novelist/artist/evolutionary anthropologist who wrote this ecstatically gender-fluid masterpiece, also painted the trippy cover art and another couple dozen illustrations within.
The book occurs this way:
Once upon a spacetime, in a medieval forest still shuddering from the Black Death, little Florentine busily grows her own set of stag antlers as she comes of age, then falls in love, and then --
Once upon a spacetime, on grimy North London streets, blackened helicopters buzzing overhead, amnesiac Jack undergoes toughlove kokology to recall his old life, and then --
Once upon a spacetime, across a bombed-out future desert, Martin hikes naked with only his walking-stick for company, and then --