The Tears of Isis

The Tears of Isis Review

What is art? To a sculptor it may be the formation of beauty from stone, or some other material; to a writer the forming of words into poetry or prose. The creation or retelling of myths and wonders, bringing to them a new understanding — but beauty as well. To the Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney, in his Defense of Poesy, “lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, [the poet -- or, indeed, the artist in general] doth grow, in effect, into another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the heroes, demi-gods, cyclops, chimeras, furies, and such like.” And so it may be proper that the book we have here, The Tears of Isis, begins with a poem about a sculptor, a modern Medusa, and concludes with the title story of another sculptor who travels a continent for inspiration, in search of the goddess, “the Weeping Isis,” and ends with discovery of her own self.

But The Tears of Isis, the book, is a journey too, encompassing, yes, “forms such as never were in nature,” as not just “La Méduse,” but also a man’s soul absorbed by an octopus, vampires both physical and metaphorical, music and retellings of Cinderella, an Ancient World caper involving the Golden Fleece of legend, a far-future recasting of Sleeping Beauty — one of three stories in The Tears of Isis set in the author’s world of the “Tombs,” another “Tombs” tale of the origin of ghouls, cockroaches spawned by war, insects by UFOs, Lovecraftian monsters called forth by candles, a woman who takes in a rat as a pet, the “death planet” Saturn and women who buy birds, the life-cycle of dragons, another “Tombs” story of love and a zombie-like form of revenge, and at last to Isis — her search to create but destroying as well, as is part of her nature, and back full circle to sculptress Medusa who “spoke to her hair at times” and “in her dreams . . . her hair hissed its/ answers.”

Are these tales, then, her doing, the fever dreams of one who both creates and dismantles, who transmutes life itself into stone? And are Medusa and Isis the same, the goddess who, with her consort Osiris, rules over death and life at the same time, taking the form of both nurturing mother and flesh-eating vulture?

It is for the reader to decide.

Title:The Tears of Isis
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • William Cook

    5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful depiction of the dark and tragic soul of humanityMay 11, 2014This review is from: The Tears of Isis (Paperback)James Dorr's third collection of short fiction, `The Tears o...

  • Erin

    This review originally appeared on my blog: http://erinrbritt.wordpress.com/2014/...I had the pleasure of interviewing James Dorr for Author Corner awhile back, and one of the things we discussed was ...

  • Marne Wilson

    It would be very easy to discount this story collection at first glance, as the cover art practically screams "I must be self-published!" and the back cover blurb is long on pretentious language and s...

  • Bill

    What an excellent collection this is! And so dark, just the way I like my fiction to be. Included are weird reworkings of a couple of fairy tales (which are weird enough in their original versions!) T...

  • Natasha Ewendt

    Is there anything better than a short story collection that pulls you in from the very first line? The Tears of Isis is intelligently written, evocative and engrossing. James Dorr is a fabulous wordsm...

  • Christine Rains

    A well written collection of short stories to chill you to your core. Ghouls, insects, vampires, and gods. Tantalizing bits taken from Egyptian mythology and woven into highly original tales.These sto...

  • Carla Peele

    I won an Advanced Reader's Copy (or ARC) of this book on Goodreads.com, and I was quite excited, as the back cover description looked so very promising! I was expecting myth to mix with faerie tale......

  • Brooke

    I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.A really unique collection of short stories that mixes mythology, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fairy tales in a strange blend. ...

  • Rena Mason

    THE TEARS OF ISIS is a well-written collection of stories that transcend time, places, and events, which are all connected in one way or another, even if just by a name. The individual works are dark ...

  • Vincenzo Bilof

    James Dorr’s greatest gift is his versatility, and this collection is a showcase for his storytelling prowess and writing skill. While reading Tears of Isis, I was reminded of the old Heavy Metal ca...