The Emperor's Body


93 pages
ISBN 0-921215-80-0
DDC C813'.54





Illustrations by Miles Lowry
Reviewed by Louise E. Allin

Louise E. Allin, a poet and short-story writer, is also an English instructor at Cambrian College.


Marvyne Jenoff has emerged as a postmodern fabulist. In this attractive
little book with its compelling black-and-white illustrations, she
teases the reader with familiar faces transported to another time and
place, asking the question “What if?” and answering it with dazzling
creativity. Hansel, Cinderella, Jack and his beanstalk, the fox with the
grapes, the Sprats—all play out new dramas. Witches live in the city
and ride the subway with conjured train tickets. Mrs. Giant assumes her
dead husband’s role and gazes down on Jack from the clouds, monitoring
his progress, approving his girlfriend. “Cinderella” takes a new
twist, the author retreating as the creation comes alive to direct
itself: “The story liked to nestle in the sugarbowl in the midst of
the action ... An essential character had absented himself without
extending the courtesy of asking permission.” In the tradition of
“The Little Prince” or Wilde’s fairy tales, this whimsical
collection can be read on many levels, and enjoyed by children and
adults alike.


Jenoff, Marvyne., “The Emperor's Body,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,