The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night

The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night


A collection of modern fairy tales in the form of short stories.

Our Review

The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night by Jen Campbell appealed to me because it was described as being a series of modern fairy tales.

I often struggle with short story collections and there are very few I actually enjoy. This collection had three stories I loved but the rest were not memorable for me.

Animals was my favourite story from the collection and the first line drew me in and gave me hope this would be the kind of book I love.

“These days you can find anything you need at the click of a button.

That’s why I bought her heart online.”

The protagonist of the story has bought a swan’s heart offline to try to keep a former lover by their side, having already tried and failed to keep Cora using other animals hearts the hope is that she will stay with this heart because swans mate for life.

This short story contains musings on the nature of love and facts and legends about surrounding the heart. It also contains facts about swans and some fairy tales about them.

My favourite of these was one I first heard when watching Jim Henson’s The Storyteller in the form of The Three Ravens.

I also liked the story Little Deaths about a town whose residents keep ghosts in jars.

“Our town is full of ghosts. We try to catch them during break. They struggle against our grip, shapeshifting. We shove them into wine bottles and jam jars, fish bowls and snow globes.”

The children of the town even have homework centred around ghosts and death.

The other story I loved from the collection was Aunt Libby’s Coffin Hotel. The book begins with a leaflet advertising the coffin hotel.

“Desperate to communicate with deceased loved ones?

Looking for answers about mortality?

Dare to spend an evening toying with death?”

It goes on to talk about Ankaa Angel of Death.

“Just thirteen years old, this changeling has untold wisdom collected from years spent in Hades…Ankaa is a child stuck between heaven and hell.”

My favourite thing about this tale was the different legends about death and dying.

The stories I liked saved the collection for me but I don’t think I would buy it for myself.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.2/5

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