Idiots: Five Fairy Tales and Other Stories

Fairies promise one wish—but not “immortality, health, money and love”—to each of the wretched, narcissistic protagonists in the first five stories of Arjouni’s sardonic new collection. In the title story, a fairy comes to the aid of a miserable ad exec desperate to save his company from financial ruin. A promising young film director who suffers paralyzing anxiety attacks asks a fairy to erase his fear of failure in “Defeated.” The fairy grants literary help to an aging pulp-fiction writer yearning for serious artistic success in “In the Valley of Death.”  Despite some pat plotting, Arjouni weaves lively, ironic tales about desperate folk at the edges of contemporary German society.

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