Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice

Returning My Sister's Face cover

Cover art: “Kitsune” by Ahyicodae

Enchantment, peril, and romance pervade the shadowy Far East, from the elegant throne room of the emperor’s palace to the humble teahouse of a peasant village. In these dozen stories of adventure and magic from the Orient, a maiden encounters an oni demon in the forest, a bride discovers her mother-in-law is a fox woman, a samurai must appease his sister’s angry ghost, strange luck is found in a jade locket, and dark and light are two sides of harmony.

Introduction by Vonda N. McIntyre.

Table of Contents:

  1. Daughter of Bótù
  2. The Tiger Fortune Princess
  3. A Thread of Silk
  4. The Snow Woman’s Daughter
  5. The Tanuki-Kettle
  6. Honor is a Game Mortals Play
  7. The Raven’s Brocade
  8. Shim Chung the Lotus Queen
  9. The Tears of My Mother, the Shell of My Father
  10. Year of the Fox
  11. The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon (listen to me read this story)
  12. Returning My Sister’s Face

212 pages
Hardcover (March 2009): $23.95 (£16.00)
ISBN-10: 1-60762-010-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-010-5

Trade paperback (July 2009): $11.95 (£9.00)
ISBN-10: 1-60762-011-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-011-2

E-book (November 2010): $6.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-4661-5052-2
ePpub, iPad, PDF, Palm (PDB), Sony (LRF)


  • English 243: “Introduction to Literature by Women” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Fall 2010.
  • ASA 189B: “Asian American Literature, Popular Fiction, and Racial Representation” at the University of California, Davis, Winter 2011.


Whimsy and malice—yes—also mystery, a very female sensuality, and wit. An elegant and entertaining book.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Hugo, Nebula, Pushcart, and Newbery Award-winning author.

The tales are beautifully written, elegant, passionate, funny and moving. The entire collection is a delightful, magical bridge across cultures. I hope many readers find their way to it.

Patricia A. McKillip, Locus, World Fantasy Best Novel, and World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author.

Noted short story author Foster offers a dozen enchanting and sometimes chilling tales alive with elegantly sketched characters and sensibilities drawn from Asian folklore…Readers who long for a break from European medieval fantasy will be charmed and entertained by Foster’s tales.

Publishers Weekly

Up till now, fans of Eugie Foster’s clever, crystalline fairy tales, drawn from Chinese and Japanese mythology, had to seek out single instances of her stories in various magazines and anthologies. However, with the March publication of Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, old aficionados can relish 12 of her tales all in one place…I wholeheartedly recommend this collection of tender and well-written stories.

—Elizabeth A. Allen, The Fix

In this elegant collection of stories Eugie Foster bridges the gap between the traditional fairytale and historical fantasy. Throughout the collection she alternates between re-tellings of Chinese and Japanese legends and original stories with elements drawn from the same deep wells. There is a formality to the writing that suits the traditional strain, giving a timeless authority to all the stories without making them unapproachable. On the contrary, they are charming to read.

—Holly Phillips, Fantasy Magazine

Lovers of fairy and folk tales who crave, as I do, stories from cultures not their own will delight in these deceptively simple tales. They are layered with tragedy and superstition, with spirituality and most importantly, with a fine sense of the marvelous.

—Erzebet YellowBoy, Cabinet Des Fées

Foster’s tone ranges from dark to light and whimsical…Lovers of fairytale fiction will find much to enjoy.
—Craig Laurance Gidney, Fantasy With Bite

Among collections by relatively new writers, I found Deborah Biancotti’s A Book of Endings, Eugie Foster’s Returning My Sister’s Face, and Cat Rambo’s Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight the most compelling.
—Jeff VanderMeer on The Best of 2009, Locus

[Eugie] tells her tales with such energy, grace and heart that one feels instantly transported and moved…I recommend this collection highly.
Ken Schneyer

Eugie Foster’s Returning My Sister’s Face was a delight to read, the kind of book you can curl up to on a cold winter’s day and be effortlessly transported to another time and place….Foster certainly masters the mystical tonality of these types of folktales.
Asian American Literature Fans

The writing is filled with both the graceful simplicity I have come to associate with Far Eastern literature and poetry as well as the modern edginess which comes with the meeting between two cultures…Returning My Sister’s Face remains one of the brighter sparks in the output of published writing for the year.
—Nin Harris, M/C Reviews

Praise for “DAUGHTER OF BÒTÚ”:

“Daughter of Bótù,” even more exemplifies the sheer joy I get in reading a story with a mythology that’s “new” to me. Here Foster takes a symbol dating back to the Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE) and weaves a brilliant tale of the paranormal told through the voice of a young rabbit (who later becomes a young woman).

A story of survival, love, illusion, betrayal, loss and – ultimately – a resolution that is sure to leave you a bit shaken. The shifting of animal with mythical and the human condition here is pretty much perfect…the culture is so rich it suffuses every turn of phrase. Lovely.
—’Nathan Burgoine, Red Room


This is the second story in Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, and it’s a beautiful mix of Far East culture, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. As far as retellings and reimaginings go, Foster has a deft touch…Taking a known tale and spinning it in a new direction that is fresh and restores the joy of the first time the tale was discovered always makes me smile. Foster does that with “Tiger Fortune Princess.”
—’Nathan Burgoine, Red Room

Foster writes with a graceful, easy touch, with just the right images, making the story into a tapestry. We’ve already seen the whole from the beginning, but that in no way takes away from the pleasure of going over it bit by bit in order to savor the details.
—Sherwood Smith, Tangent

Set in ancient China this masterfully combines Chinese legend and familiar European tales.
—Sam Tomaino, SFRevu

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