Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

The Complete Tales of Merry Gold

Merry Gold

The Complete Tales of Merry Gold
by Kate Bernheimer

Quality Paper
2006. 168 pp.
Price: $19.95


Obsessive, prudish, and cold, Merry Gold lives in denial of her own condition. This seamstress—the eldest and meanest of the three Gold sisters—possesses a tarnished past and faces a bleak and lonely future. Guilty about her destructive desires and longing for innocence, her inner turmoil and explosive imagination belie a disarming honesty.

A sequel to The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold, the novel follows Merry from her suburban childhood through design school and a whirlwind of lovers, and into a desolate adulthood. Beginning with a toy seal and ending with mushrooms, this fairy tale set in modern times creeps through cruelty and violence to its inevitable end.

Reminiscent of a miniature, fragile ice sculpture, The Complete Tales of Merry Gold glistens with hard-hearted bliss. Kate Bernheimer has once again delved into the internal anguish of the Gold family to extract a magical, carefully stitched tale of strange and happy fear.


"This is indeed a remarkably skillful performance, and the brilliance of Bernheimer’s achievement is spectacular. This is a novel of great power, one that will be of interest to every thoughtful reader."—Bob Williams

"Here simmers witchery: the black magic of an ominous femininity. The little match girl has cut her teeth and her smile glitters with subversion and an irresistible malevolence."—Rikki Ducornet

"Kate Bernheimer's fiction offers a unique and delicate gift, the tempting mirage of a grace that constantly escapes. The Complete Tales of Merry Gold is an exceptional, lovely book, beautifully enigmatic, speaking a language that mysteriously evokes the unspoken."—Lydia Millet

"A real gem, my favorite book of the year. A novel so simple and beautiful that you forget how hard it is to pull off simple and beautiful. Bernheimer's second novel is a great, great success."—Willy Vlautin


A Whirly-Gig Tale

Long ago I reached the end of my luck. Yet when I was a child I lay in my cradle asleep. “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children alone” I played in my mind. My mother came in and said, “So you’ve gone to dreaming, my pretty? Gey schluffen. In the meantime, go down to the kitchen and wash a handful of grapes. I’ll be glad to have them when I wake up.” Then she plucked me out of the cradle, climbed in it herself and crewed her eyes shut. I crept down to the kitchen to get the grapes. Now, don’t cover your ears, but when I reached into the fridge a viper shot out and headed right for me. Leaving the green grapes untouched, I ran away very fast. (After that, my father came into the kitchen and popped the grapes into his mouth, one after the other, one after the other again.) All the while, my mother slept in that crib, curled like a roly-poly into a ball. And as for me? The viper chased me and chased me, slithering fast on the ground. This went on for hours until I hid behind a maple tree, shaking mad. The viper crept slowly away. This is why, since my earliest days, I plan a whirly-gig right on my nose whenever I’m mad. It provides a very strong message to vipers and creatures that crawl close to the ground—inchworms and earthworms and seals. I’ve reached the end of my story and also the end of my luck. Would you hand me a glassful of vodka?