Cartoons that draw their creator into another world; demonic paintings that exert a sinister influence on our own. Fairy tales that express the secret losses and anxieties of their tellers. These are the elements that Steven Millhauser employs to such marvelous—and often disquieting—effect in Little Kingdoms, a collection whose three novellas suggest magical companion pieces to his acclaimed longer fictions.
In "The Little Kingdom of J. Franklin Payne," a gentle eccentric constructs an elaborate alternate universe that is all the more appealing for being transparently unreal. "The Princess, the Dwarf, and the Dungeon" is at once a gothic tale of nightmarish jealousy and a meditation on the human need for exaltation and horror. And "Catalogue of the Exhibition" introduces us to the oeuvre of Edmund Moorash, a Romantic painter who might have been imagined by Nabokov or Poe. Exuberantly inventive, as mysterious as dreams, these novellas will delight, mesmerize, and transport anyone who reads them.
STEVEN MILLHAUSER is the author of numerous works of fiction, including Martin Dressler, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, and, most recently, We Others: New and Selected Stories, winner of The Story Prize and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His work has been translated into fifteen languages, and his story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" was the basis of the 2006 film The Illusionist. He teaches at Skidmore College.
"Millhauser's writing is dazzling." —David Leavitt, Esquire
"Millhauser makes our world turn amazing!"—The New York Times Book Review
"An American writer of surpassing skill.... He renders the impossible itself with precision." —Chicago Tribune