Once upon a time, there lived a valiant little tailor who killed seven flies with one blow—but who is this narrator who has abruptly inserted himself into the story, claiming authorship? He’s indignant: the fairy tale, borne carelessly along by the popular imagination, subjected to the transformations of oral tradition, was collected in a lamentable state by the Brothers Grimm, and he intends to restore the tale and its giant-slaying, unicorn-fighting, boar-hunting star to their original magnificence. But the true hero of the story remains to be seen: Is it the tailor, the narrator, or someone else entirely?
In this explosive retelling of the classic tale, Éric Chevillard enlists the reader in a dizzying game of crack-the-whip, with new directions and delights in every paragraph. At once irreverent and deeply sincere, this book is a mischievous, multifarious celebration of the power of stories and those who tell them.
“Beguiling, charming, and giddy with digression, Chevillard’s take on the classic Grimms’ fairy tale is a comic gem. Hilariously self-aware and proving the journey is always better than the destination, The Valiant Little Tailor is at once completely modern and at the same time a classic yarn in every sense.”—Mark Haber, author of Reinhardt’s Garden
“Here’s Chevillard at his cockeyed keenest, bedeviling the Brothers Grimm with a giddy vengeance. Jordan Stump once again proves a superb chaperone on this deliciously macabre, deliriously digressive, almost irresponsibly imaginative field trip into the bowels of narrative.”—Daniel Levin Becker, author of Many Subtle Channels
"As Chevillard reinvents, subverts, and digresses from the Brothers Grimm tale, his wit and wordplay leap into life in Jordan Stump’s breathtaking translation. A book not to be missed by anyone new to Chevillard’s antics, or by his longtime, faithful readers."—Alyson Waters, translator of Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times
“Chevillard takes a Grimms' fairy tale and runs rings around it, torquing and twisting it into new half-shapes. Amusing, maddening, funny, and absurd, this is a new sort of metafiction, like Robert Coover on acid.”—Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World
Praise for Éric Chevillard:
“Chevillard [is] one of the bright spots in recent French literature.”—Publishers Weekly
“A major talent, a worthy descendant in the Beckett-Bernhard line.”—Darren Reidy, The Believer
“Éric Chevillard is one of the few great experimental French writers still writing today.”—Erik Martiny, London Magazine
“Beloved for his playful and sharply intelligent fiction, Éric Chevillard is a voice worthy of a global readership.”—Music and Literature