The Coyote Road Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-05 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 16 user ratings

"I like to read books of short stories to find new authors and am often pleasantly surprised to find tales by those whose books I already enjoy. This collection of short stories written by well–known authors and less well-known authors alike is no exception.

Don’t be mislead by the title, though, because while there are many tales of Coyote inspired by the North American tales, (some which take awhile for the reader to recognize him!) the authors also use tricksters from other mythologies. “The Listeners” by Nina Kirki Hoffman is one such tale, focusing on Hermes the Greek trickster god. She gives us the usual Grecian background but the tale itself is something new. The majority of the short stories only touch on the tradition myths, taking well known aspects of the tricksters and creating whole new characters and tales. I have my favorites, but I won’t spoil them for you here.

Go read it and then we’ll talk! This is the type of book you can dip into and put back and then dip into again or just read from cover to cover. One word of warning – these tales, just like Ellen Datlow and terri Windlings other collections are more for teens and grown-ups than children. Make sure you read the tale first before starting a bed time story or you might get an awkward question or two!
" said.

"If I could, I would give this novel 2.5 stars, because it's a mixture of good stories and okay stories. However, since the okay stories outweigh the good, I have to go with okay.

That said, I am perhaps biased. I absolutely adored the two other anthologies that Datlow and Windling produced: The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm and The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. You should definitely pick up those over this one.

My biggest problem with The Coyote Road is I often felt like the one who was being tricked. Half the time, I finished a story and couldn't guess if there was trickster involved or not. Not only that, but I had to go back and read the first few pages again for several of the tales, just because I hadn't grasped what I was supposed to.

However, there are some creative and inventive stories here that make it worth reading. Because who doesn't love a little tricking, especially if the person being tricked deserves it.
" said.

"I thought I was going to be cherry picking my way through this anthology. I picked it up because I was in a mood to read about foxes, and since they're traditionally tricksters I figured I'd find a few of them in this book. I only found a few foxes (one kitsune to be specific), but it doesn't matter because just about every story and poem in this book is wonderful. I read it straight through.

My personal favorite was "Honored Guest" by Ellen Kushner who brought in my favorite character from one of her other book series. She played the absolute best trick on me by not letting me know she was there until the the very end.

The last story in the book is not only a piece of great writing, but it shows off the great editing in this anthology since it goes out with a bang (and a whimper I suppose). "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change" by Will Shetterly is a look at how humans would actually react if one day most of the animals of the world (specifically cats and dogs) suddenly gained the ability to speak and think. As with most realities it's not very pretty.

The rest of the stories are a joy to read, and I highly recommend this. I've had a few of their other anthologies sitting on my shelves for a while, and I this book has made me very interested in picking them up.
" said.

"Having previously enjoyed Datlow & Windling's collections (The Green Man and The Faery Reel), I was looking forward to reading this latest anthology, now out in trade paperback. A smart collection of short fiction and poetry, featuring many of my favorite writers, it did not disappoint.

All of us are familiar with stories about tricksters, whether we're aware of it or not. From Br'er Rabbit and Bugs Bunny to Anansi and Coyote, every culture has tales of tricksters. The stories in this collection are as varied as the cultures and time periods they cover, and the form the trickster takes is often surprising. While some stories feature familiar characters out of legend, many of them show us that anyone (or anything) can be a trickster, and as it goes with tricksters, you never know how it's going to turn out.

The tales take you from ancient Greece to the near future, from China to the Louisiana bayou, and many interesting times and places in between. I enjoyed all of the stories, some more than others of course, but there wasn't a dud among them. Each story or poem has an magical illustration by Charles Vess that adds to its mystique.

If you enjoy mythic fiction, fantasy, or even just a good yarn, I highly recommend The Coyote Road.

(from my blog, here)
" said.

"Collections of short stories are kind like a bag of mixed jellybeans. There are flavors you like (mmmm... buttered popcorn) and flavors you don't (always the darkest or lightest ones), and flavors you might dislike now but later find to be tasty (mmmm??? cream soda?). Coyote Road was a pretty standard book of short stories by a variety of authors, collected by two master "collectors." I have to admit, I didn't read each and every story, but I started each and every story. Some of them I spit out. But a few I savored. My absolute favorite short story in the whole book, the buttered popcorn or cotton candy of the book, was Kelly Link's The Constable of Abal, a strange little mother / daughter story. It's a great short story that makes the reader not want it to end or wish that the writer had written a full length novel or novels set in the same world (she hasn't -- yet). Other stories I enjoyed: Steve Berman's Wagers of Gold Mountain set in the gold country of old California; The Listeners by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, a close second to Link, set in Ancient Greece (this should be included in studies of Greece as a break from the actual history); Realer Than You by Christopher Barzak, where modern Japan intersects with old stories; Friday Night at Saint Cecilia's, where board games become real; Honored Guests by Ellen Kushner, about a very evil, tricky old woman getting tricked herself; Cat of the World by Michael Cadnum, about the trickery of an Egyptian cat god; and The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn by Kim Antiea, a very traditional tale set in the present.
" said.

"Однажды ничего не было, и тогда Создатель придумал землю и людей. Спустя какое-то время ему стало скучно, и он придумал Койота. С тех пор скучно не было уже никому. Койот крал, врал, ел, что попало, и сколько влезет, спал и гадил, где придется, и смеялся надо всеми. Все его ненавидели, и сам Создатель задумывался временами: а так ли плоха была спокойная жизнь? Однако, темными долгими вечерами, усевшись у огня, о ком люди рассказывали свои истории?

Потому что правда в том, что каждому время от времени нужно услышать о Койоте.

Жанровые сборники Эллен Датлоу и Терри Уиндлинг хорошо известны за границей и не очень хорошо – у нас, а жаль. На этот раз главным героем рассказов и стихов является Трикстер. Герой определяет историю, и речь будет о проделках и уловках, сделках и насмешках, а также о справедливой награде для каждого. Внимание: понятие «награда» у вас и у Трикстера может различаться.

В основном, это всё-таки истории Койота. Есть в сборнике королева Маб, и Гермес (Локи, увы, отсутствует), но большей частью это неизвестные ловкачи (сколько имен у хорошего трикстера?). Истории Америки, где один новоприбывший может лишить покоя целый город, где цирковой поезд пересекает весь континент, где, если вспомнить «Американских богов» Геймана, плохая земля для этих самых богов.

Зато какой простор для трикстеров.

Не тот объём для перечисления всех двадцати шести историй, поэтому остановлюсь на своей пятерке лучших:

“One Odd Shoe”, Pat Murphy – классическая индейская история о Койоте.

“The Fiddler of Bayou Teche”, Delia Sherman – болота Луизианы, балы оборотней, скрипач, вызвавший дьявола, и непереводимый диалект.

“The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn”, Kim Antieau – милая история мексиканской принцессы на горошине.

“The Constable of Abal”, Kelly Link – две мошенницы, мать и дочь, путешествуют в окружении призраков. Мир – фэнтезийный, время – Великая Депрессия, история о том, что происходит с трикстером, если он не может вернуться домой.

“The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change”, Kij Johnson – однажды собаки начали рассказывать собственные истории. Мой личный фаворит и единственная история, вызвавшая слезы, если любите собак, читайте осторожно.
" said.

"This was a mediocre collection. Looking over the table of contents I remember liking quite a few of the stories, and really disliking only a couple, but very little stands out.

"The Listeners" was very engaging, but ended just when things were getting started: it felt like the opening chapter of a fascinating novel.

"The Chamber Music of Animals" by Katherine Vaz and "The Dreaming Wind" by Jeffery Ford were dense with metaphor and style, and almost elevated themselves to poetry, but not quite.

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" by Delia Sherman; "Friday Night at St. Cecilia's" by Ellen Klages; "The Fortune-Teller" by Patricia McKillip; "Crow Roads" by Charles de Lint; "Honored Guest" by Ellen Kushner; "Black Rock Blues" by Will Shetterly; "The Constable of Abal" by Kelly Link; and "The Other Labyrinth" by Jedediah Berry all had a classic trickster tale feel and were strong enough that I will be seeking out more by the authors I didn't already know and love.

"The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change" by Kij Johnson closed the collection and was the only story that I will carry with me for some time; it was beautiful and tragic and said something about the human condition which none of the other tales accomplished.

I liked the idea that there was poetry collected here as well, but sadly all but one fell flat: "How Raven Made His Bride" by Theodora Goss was a pretty little thing that felt just right.

The introduction (and preface) were informative, though the introduction waxed a little long, but I can't decide if I liked the fact that the author information and the statement by the author for the reason behind the story came after the story itself; with authors I already knew I liked that sequence just fine, but I think it would have been nice to at least have the editor's introduction beforehand for the stories by authors I had never heard of before.

While I loved the theme of this collection, I think most of the authors struggled to find the right feel for a trickster story. Trickster tales are teaching tales in most cultures, and while there were trickster characters in all the stories, only Kij Johnson's felt like it was attempting to explain the world as it is or should be. As a result I can only give this collection three stars.
" said.

"Twenty-six tales, some prose and some poems, and all of them intriguing and enticing by turns. And just listen to their content. A deal with the devil takes the form of a competitive eating contest. A spirit decides that it will do everything possible to stop a classroom from diagramming sentences. A boy draws inspiration from Brer Rabbit to outsmart his kidnappers. A girl collects ghosts on ribbons, taking them wherever she goes, feeding them her blood. Each story relates to a trickster character of some sort. Sometimes they are wild spirits of the earth and air. Other times, classic characters like the devil, Hermes, and Raven. The mix of good and bad, unpredictability, self-interest, and good humor weaves in and out of these stories and the sheer variety is perhaps the collection's biggest lure. Both original and traditional, this is a fine and fancy mix of the wildness of spirit lying at the heart of some of the world's best stories.

If I had to choose my favorite stories in this collection, I'd be hard pressed to say. There really wasn't a story here I felt was "bad" (though a couple might have been out-of-place) and plenty that I found exceptional. I did have a great deal of affection for "Black Rock Blues" which is the only story with an African-American trickster. It's the kind of story where a character is forcibly taken somewhere and asked to leave the car. When he refuses the heavies say, "The kindness is for my compatriot. He must clean the car if a guest is reluctant to leave it." I love that kind of stuff. Ellen Klages taps into our nation's love of board games in a truly original fashion in "Friday Night at St. Celia's", which is fun. The most thought-provoking story, however, is also the last tale in the collection. Editing a book of this size and scope can't be an easy job but there must be certain perks. Getting to decide the order in which the stories appear might be one of them. The idea of making the story, "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change," the last must have been a bit of a no-brainer, though. In this tale something happens to all the domesticated animals in the world, giving them the power of speech. Author Kij Johnson talks about what happens when pets unnerve us and make us feel forced to abandon them. Amongst the wild dogs of the North Park, the dogs begin to tell stories about One Dog. These are stories that are based around their culture and not the human's culture. The tale, in essence, captures exactly how and why it is that we create tales for one another, providing the perfect capper to this collection.

It's a mix, of course. There are a lot of female tricksters in this collection. Far more than you'll find in folktales and myths, I'd wager. In the Introduction, Terri Windling makes the point that, "Such wily women are rare, however, and seldom do they enjoy the cultural status of their masculine counterparts." Still, it had to have been irresistible. And while some authors know their trickster history and play off of it, others conjure up characters entirely out of their own heads without referencing any one land or person directly. In the end it's a magnificent series of tales, engrossing and engaging by turns. An ideal gift for the person entranced by folklore, the person who loves trickster tales, or just any person who likes a good story once in a while. Recommended for any and for all.
" said.

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