Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lost Cantos of the Ouroboros Caves

Idgie Says:
This is a selection of very interesting stories/fables.  They are written in the "old fashioned" style of fables, which to me adds a nice ebb and flow to the reading. The stories make you think.  Pat Conroy has taken this novel under his wing and if Pat likes it, we need to pay attention.  

This is a slim book with some additions added to it, which leads me to think the first version was slightly on the anorexic side.  

PS:  The hardcover is limited to 500 signed and numbered copies, with an audio CD of select fables narrated by Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Janis Ian.  The colophon page is signed by Maggie Schein, Jonathan Hannah, and Pat Conroy.  Can you say Christmas gift!?!?! (This comes out in December I believe.)


Lost Cantos of the Ouroboros Caves
Expanded Edition
Maggie Schein
Illustrations by Jonathan Hannah
Foreword by Pat Conroy
October, 2014
University of South Carolina Press

Richly nuanced fables pondering cycles of being and championing our overarching connections to one another

An enticing collection of tales told in the fabulist and metafiction traditions, Lost Cantos of the Ouroboros Caves embraces a cyclical movement of renewal, like the ancient ouroboros motif itself, in which artfully rendered answers always give rise to perplexing new questions.

Maggie Schein's stories introduce medicine men, monks, immortals, witches, seekers, and souls in various stages of their cycles in and out of lived life, as well as the occasional talking animal, all searching for meaning and for connections to one another through storytelling. Each fable is a meditation on love, death, growth, pain, identity, self, spirit, cruelty, beauty, and the natural order, as seen from the perspectives of the primal, the celestial, or the spiritual. Rooted in the archetypes of mythology and philosophy, Schein's lost cantos are stories about the events that make up our lives and our deaths.

She makes deft use of familiar forms and universal symbols to explore anew through narrative those questions and experiences that have always vexed us about our confounding existence and the speculative possibilities that abound within and beyond the mortal coil. Schein's tales ask us to reconsider what it means to live and to die, to be simultaneously a creature of magic and the mundane, of the extraordinary and the all-too-ordinary. The result is a delicate but potent collection of alluring fables for the modern reader, recalling classical stories and myths of days long past and asking once more the questions that continue to haunt us.

This expanded edition adds three new fables not included in the original edition as well as new illustrations for all eleven stories from artist Jonathan Hannah. 


A native of Atlanta, and now a resident of the South Carolina lowcountry, Maggie Schein was raised on stories. Schein holds a Ph.D. in ethics from the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought. An admirer of Taoist and Buddhist texts, philosophies, and practices, as well as the works of naturalists and Native American storytellers, Schein brings a wealth of complementary and conflicting perspectives to her imaginative, lyrical fiction. She lives in Beaufort, South Carolina, with her motley menagerie of rescued animals and artist Jonathan Hannah.

Jonathan Hannah grew up in a 300-year-old colonial house in rural Connecticut. His artistic media span digital through pen and ink, and his preferred subject matters from the esoteric to the absurd.