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Like a postmodern Aesop, Jakob Arjouni wittily punctures pretension and self-deception. These tales are characterized by ironic humor with an underlying note of melancholy.
Among the delightful idiots collected here, the author offers a domineering mother whose rock star son fails to appreciate her efforts on his behalf; a hopeful young movie director with a bad case of writer's block; and an aging author of pulp fiction trying to write one good, serious book before he dies. They are all visited by a fairy who offers to grant one wish, with the exceptions of immortality, health, money, and love. Their wishes, once granted, have stinging consequences--the resolutions of which read like an updated version of the Brothers Grimm. A would-be novelist, whose marriage is on the rocks, longs for excitement and soon finds himself taken hostage by a girl bank robber; and a mysterious old man who comes to a village to end his days in peace winds up the close acquaintance of the local drunk. [via]