Leonora Carrington was the rare individual who excelled at more than one mode of creativity: while most famous as an exceptionally gifted Surrealist painter, she was an equally powerful & visionary writer. This collection of short stories & a novella is ample proof of that skill. Certainly her work as a Surrealist is a major influence on her writing ... but there's more at work here, both an almost primal, archetypal feminism & fascination with the occult, and a streak of very black humor indeed. Her work as a painter informs the often startling imagery of her stories, and her aristocratic background (along with her complete renunciation of it) shows in their sly & sometimes savage wit & intelligence. It's difficult to describe these stories, as they're not so much about plot or character as they're about their very style of telling. It's dreamlike, verging on the nightmarish, touched by the absurd, but always striking some very deep & potent emotions, something visceral & frighteningly responsive within the reader. For lack of a better category -- they really are sui generis -- they have the flavor of dark & twisted fairy tales, drawn from the forgotten history of some unknown culture that's all too much like our own, seen in a cracked carnival mirror. For those with a taste for spiky, disorienting, vivid visions, this collection is most highly recommended!