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Book Cover for: The Belle of Sleepy Hollow and Other Untold Stories in Classic American Tales, Susan Lohafer

The Belle of Sleepy Hollow and Other Untold Stories in Classic American Tales

Susan Lohafer

The Belle of Sleepy Hollow contains nine tales, each tied to a classic American short story. The new stories are implicit critiques and interpretations of the old ones, but they are also tributes to some of the most beloved works in American literature. Referencing the same characters, settings, and events, these tales are situated within a time gap left by the original, or placed before or after the known story, or told from a different point of view. Each new story is a self-contained and artful work of fiction inspired by its source but offering a fresh perspective on the fictional world immortalized in the prior work. The style evokes, rather than imitates, the voice of the original. Beautifully illustrated with scenes from the stories, the collection pulls the reader back into the iconic story-worlds of authors as diverse as Poe and Chesnutt or Hawthorne and Chopin.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Aubade Publishing
  • Publish Date: Apr 23rd, 2024
  • Pages: 176
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.50in - 5.50in - 0.38in - 0.46lb
  • EAN: 9781951547264
  • Categories: Short Stories (single author)ClassicsLiterary

About the Author

Lohafer, Susan: - Susan Lohafer grew up in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Harvard (B.A.), Stanford (M.A.), and New York University (Ph.D.). During her teaching career at the University of Iowa, she specialized in short fiction theory. This love of the short story form and classic American tales inspired her to write THE BELLE OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. Her interests in creative writing and nineteenth-century history came together in her debut novel, THE RELUCTANT PATRIOT-a fictional retelling of a true story about the American Civil War in Tennessee. Her academic books include COMING TO TERMS WITH THE SHORT STORY and READING FOR STORYNESS: PRECLOSURE THEORY, EMPIRICAL POETICS, AND CULTURE IN THE SHORT STORY, as well as the co-edited volume SHORT STORY THEORY AT A CROSSROADS. Shorter works include a personal essay listed as a Notable Essay of 2011 in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2012, and short stories in venues like THE SOUTHERN REVIEW and THE ANTIOCH REVIEW. Susan currently lives with her husband in Tennessee.

Praise for this book

As a 'reentry' into classical American short stories-from those by Washington Irving to Ernest Hemingway-Susan Lohafer's The Belle of Sleepy Hollow picks up various strands implicit in the stories themselves and then teases these strands into alternate story worlds that are loyal to the originals themselves but also delightful prequels, sequels, and side-stories. Lohafer's bright intelligence, her enviable skill, is daunting: each of her stories is written in the voice of its predecessor-quite the stylistic feat-and she brings to her tribute an inventive, scrupulous, and wholly delightful capacity for the perfect detail, and a remarkable depth of psychological insight as she allows us to see familiar characters anew. Canonical texts gain gravitas over time, but they can also lose their immediacy. If one reads Lohafer's stories with considerable suspense to learn how she will adapt her own narrative to classic tales, one is also taken aback to observe how she manages to enliven them with a renewed care towards human suffering, the intricacy of our yearning, and the mystery of experience that animated the original writers. A wonderful companion to the American short story tradition, this collection also has an artistic integrity that will reward readers for some time to come. -Michael Trussler, University of Regina, author of Encounters and The Sunday Book


Powerful short stories transport and transform us. We take them into us and carry them forward. I am thrilled to have these nine in The Belle of Sleepy Hollow as my companions. While they share many of the touchstone traits of their predecessors, they also possess a unique power all their own. "The Purloined Tale," for example, a masterful homage to the father of detective fiction, will very likely gain its own classic status alongside not one but two revered Poe stories. Lohafer's entanglement of the two stories into a third is a stroke of genius. The result is a rare enrichment of the reading experience of all three. Attentive readers will be rewarded at every twist and turn in this storybook, where Lohafer has conjured a literary miracle. She brings a lifetime of reading, thinking, studying, teaching, and writing about short stories to bear on these creations, but the scholarship is seamlessly concealed. Readers new to short stories and readers well versed in them will find here a wellspring of reflection and enjoyment. -Morris A. Grubbs, editor of Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories and Conversations with Wendell Berry


Susan Lohafer has a deep understanding of the hidden elements that make a short story. Such is her subtle command of-and respect for-language that I had the image of all of language standing to attention, ready to serve her. She draws us inside beloved classic tales and, eloquently, seamlessly, reveals the untold stories of lesser-known characters or the after-stories of central characters. I was transfixed by these stories, by the view I was given into these characters' lives, and the full knowledge that these lives would go on after I'd left them. This is the real mark and genius of a short story writer. -Mary Costello, Irish short story writer and novelist, author of The China Factory, Academy Street, and The River Capture