Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.
Having joined forces before on Fortunately, the Milk... as well as illustrated editions of The Graveyard Book and Coraline, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have a history. The Sleeper and the Spindle is their latest collaboration, and undoubtedly their greatest to date.
As a work of fiction, most folks will find it familiar, I figure; in the first because it’s a refashioned fairy tale based in part on a couple of classics—specifically Sleeping Beauty and Snow White—but consider this in addition: The Sleeper and the Spindle has been published previously, albeit absent the art, in Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales, in which anthology the story was very much at home.
The real hero of Bloomsbury’s exquisitely illustrated edition is Riddell, then. His pen and ink portraits and landscapes add a delightful new dimension to the text, and though they were added after the fact, they don’t seem in the slightest superfluous; on the contrary, they belong in this book. That said, this is the Short Fiction Spotlight, so our focus must be on the story, which—whilst neither shiny nor new—well... it’s still swell.