Isabel Greenberg is one of the best tellers of tales we have around at the moment. Her first novel, 2013’s An Encyclopedia of Early Earth, was set in a strange almost-Earth, where a bird-headed god looked down and two lovers, one from the North Pole and one from the South, were kept apart by a strange magnetic force field. One Hundred Nights of Hero returns to the same odd and charming universe.
This time the two central characters are Cherry and her maid Hero. A friend of Cherry’s husband claims he can seduce her, but Hero distracts him by telling fabulous stories. It’s similar to the frame story of One Thousand and One Nights, where the king’ wife staves off her execution by spinning out exciting tales night after night. Greenberg’s work is full of these half references, woven together to create a new world (one that the bird-headed god still looks down on).
All of the stories are backed up by Greenberg’s art work. Her style is unique and expressive, with a folksy edge that fits well with her subject matter. One Hundred Nights of Hero is a book of wonderful stories, but also a lovely object in its own right.
Imagine if the gluten-free idea kicked in earlier, and had m ...