In these tales, with one foot firmly planted in the present, Maxwell brings a certain sophisticated urbanity to the oral traditions of the fable and fairy tale. "The total effect is of something midway between the Brothers Grimm and Kafka, with perhaps a touch of Zen." (NYRB April 1966) While modern enough in locale and context, they are as old as humanity itself in what concerns them. And always that voice, the age old voice of the storyteller, the eternal magic of the speaking human voice. Such simplicity takes true artistry and Maxwell has that in spades.