Five Gorgeous Classic Retellings

Some stories never lose their grip on us. They compel us to recast them again and again, in different ways. This goes back to before the birth of writing: For every myth preserved in written form there were, in swirling echoes around it, variations of the story that did not survive—but are just as true.

A story of sufficient power can wear many faces. The Greek tragedians understood this, drawing endlessly on their mythology to give us alternate versions of Oedipus, of Iphigenia, of Electra. That tradition, of recasting powerful stories, endures to this day.

Here are five of my favorite retellings.


Beauty by Robin McKinley

There are two kinds of Robin McKinley fans: Those who prefer Beauty, her debut novel and initial retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and those who prefer Rose Daughter. I have to admire the guts it took to retell the same fairy ...