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  • Valerie Fenyn

Celebrate Friday the 13th with Carnival Macabre

Did you read Goblin Market in high school? I did and I was fascinated by the poem for reasons I didn't understand. It wasn't the lesbian "subtext" that seems to dominate every critical analysis about Christina Rossetti's work. It was something else that rarely gets remarked on: Laura's addiction. As a teenager who did a lot of drugs, this poem might have been the first English class assignment that actually rang a bell of recognition.

In the poem, Laura gets saved by her sister Lizzie. The Laura in my story "Goblin Market" does not. She refuses to be saved; in this, I think the story I wrote is more realistic. But hardly anything else in my story, which features a nightmarish world of a Fae-run carnival that exploits gullible humans, is. There's a three-headed fox, succubi, a Castle of Spirits haunted by real murder victims, and of course, a fruit addictive enough to eclipse all other rewards.

"Goblin Market" appears in a collection of 10 other fine stories called Carnival Macabre, put out by Quill and Crow. Yes, it's a whole anthology of gothic carnival stories. You'll meet vampires, a clown named Sorry, the Master of Fleas, and go on other dark adventures. You don't want to miss it.

Quill and Crow is a new publisher for me - and if they're new to you, I suggest checking out their other offerings. Elegant, gothic, and literary, their aesthetic is right up my alley and I'm just so pleased by them so far.

Happy Friday the 13th.

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