Tolstoy + Chekhov + Gogol + Turgenev + Saunders = a crash course in good writing! My favorite chapter was on "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol for the pure absurdity of the story and the great clarity Saunders brought to understanding it.
Sarahland is an acid road trip with writhing bodies stuck together by lip gloss and bodily fluids I can't mention here. The little connections and pop culture references - BUFFY! - made me beam in delight, and one story in particular made me dream of becoming a Sarah who turns into a tree. The fluidity of gender and sexuality, as well as all the different shapes and sizes a body can be, are all celebrated in this collection of messy queer Sarahs.
Mariana Enriquez brings the senses alive with her descriptions of the putrescent. Her addicting stories read like freshly unearthed urban myths and legends, full of yearning, filth and witchcraft. They make me feel gross and I love them for it. Her voice demands your attention. I haven't been this excited about a book in quite some time, and I will greedily consume anything she produces in the future.
This short story collection was unlike anything I've ever read. I've never seen women and queerness so front and center in this way and Machado does it all with a breezy air of magical realism. From a retold fable with parenthetical asides to reimagined Law & Order plotlines to an inventory of lovers set against a global virus (which may hit close to home, eesh). I hope it sticks with you like it has stuck with me.
The language in this is gorgeous!! In her debut collection, Parsons can write of the ugliest things we don't want to show a black light to like our secret longings, deep-seated self-loathing, or our bodies up close. Then she'll pull a: "Where I'm from, falling asleep is easy. You can hear your eyelashes swipe the pillow. There's so much nothing pouring in, you drift off listening to your choice." Or: "A girl like that can't last. A fleeting gleam. I don't know if there's a word for the ache of missing something when you still have it. I'd kiss her and taste my doom." Wow!
This brilliant collection of short stories is Mariana Enriquez's English language debut. In some ways, these stories could easily fit into the horror genre, but they would be more appropriate in a category simply labeled Unsettling. The story "The Neighbor's Courtyard" still haunts my dreams, in a good way.
Weird dark stories for weird dark times.
These tightly-compressed stories feel tied to some even more mysterious, elliptical tale that's been lying dormant in the reader's imagination for eons. Like some kind of ancient truth.
I don't know that a book has ever left me feeling so vulnerable, like it knew me deeply. In my bones or some other new age nonsense.
I'd wager this is what DMT feels like.
"There is no delight the equal of dread"
Clive Barker's artistic range is on full display in this toothsome collection of shorts: from haunted shrouds bent on revenge to possessed pigs, each tale is an allegory wrapped in viscera. Along with Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber', 'Books of Blood' rests atop my list when it comes to short story collections. A truly bloody affair.
Tuck is a master of minimalist refinement. Her prose is pared down and looks almost skeletal on the page but the mood and keen observations that swims in the blank spaces are shrewd and seductive.
One of the best books I read this year. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.