With a new Introduction by John Banville
These two novellas by the groundbreaking, fearless, and immeasurably influential Robert Coover are dirty, funny and brilliant. In Spanking the Maid a maid and her master are each committed to their own hard service: she, attempting to perform her simple duties without error; he, supplying punishment by rod, belt, hairbrush, whip, cane and slipper when she inevitably fails. And in Briar Rose, the other novella collected here, a sleeping beauty is trapped in an enchantment for a hundred years, dreaming of stories in which someone like her wakes up disappointed, or having become a mother, or stripped and defiled. And, as she dreams, outside failed princes die and hang their remains on the thorns of a briar hedge. These tales of desire are Coover at his most darkly playful.