Robert Coover: Briar Rose
More pomo fun from Coover. Here he is (again!) poking fun at our favourite fairy stories and legends, this time Sleeping Beauty and Co. Of course, she is waiting there to get pricked by a thorn by her handsome prince but he has dirty fingernails, she has a hundred years worth of menstrual blood (and can’t wake up) and, of course, there is sex (and babies) and cannibalism. Briar Rose is a post-Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty. She is asleep but cannot wake up. She is awaiting her prince but he is caught in the briars, that grow ever thicker, and she is dreaming of Sleeping Beauty and babies and the old crone (there is always an old crone) who pricked her finger and caused her to fall asleep. And the prince? Well, he is like all men. He wants to do what he has to do, feel her up a bit and then go on his merry way. It’s funny, it’s cruel and it’s far more real than the real story and, after reading this, you’ll realise that it was no fun being a legendary being.
First published 1996 by Grove Press