Book picks similar to
Clothed, Female Figure: Stories by Kirstin Allio
Helen Ellis - 2016
They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it's a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.
Julia Armfield - 2019
Throughout the collection, women become insects, men turn to stone, a city becomes insomniac and bodies are picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sea side towns are invaded and transformed by the physical, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to the bodies of its inhabitants. Blending the mythic and the fantastic, the collection considers characters in motion – turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new.From the winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018, salt slow is an extraordinary collection of short stories that are sure to dazzle and shock.
And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories & Other Revenges
Amber Sparks - 2020
Now, she reaches new, uncanny heights with And I Do Not Forgive You. In “Mildly Happy, With Moments of Joy,” a friend is ghosted by a simple text message; in “Everyone’s a Winner at Meadow Park,” a teen precariously coming of age in a trailer park befriends an actual ghost. At once humorous and unapologetically fierce, these stories shine an interrogating light on the adage that “history likes to lie about women”— as the subjects of “A Short and Speculative History of Lavoisier’s Wife” and “You Won’t Believe What Really Happened to the Sabine Women” (it’s true, you won’t) will attest. Blending fairy tales and myths with apocalyptic technologies, all tethered intricately by shades of rage, And I Do Not Forgive You offers a mosaic of an all-too-real world that fails to listen to its silenced goddesses.Mildly unhappy, with moments of joy --You won't believe what really happened to the Sabine women --A place for hiding precious things --Everyone's a winner in Meadow Park --A short and slightly speculative history of Lavoisier's wife --We destroy the Moon --In which Athena designs a video game with the express purpose of trolling her father --Is the future a nice place for girls --Our mutual (theater) friend --The dry cleaner from Des Moines --The eyes of Saint Lucy --We were a storybook back then --Rabbit by rabbit --Through the looking-glass --The noises from the neighbors upstairs --Our geographic history --Death deserves all caps --A wholly new and novel act, with monsters --When the husband grew wings --The language of the stars --Mildly joyful, with moments of extraordinary unhappiness --Tour of the cities we have lost
Almost Famous Women: Stories
Megan Mayhew Bergman - 2015
Now Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise, resurrects these women, lets them live in the reader's imagination, so we can explore their difficult choices. Nearly every story in this dazzling collection is based on a woman who attained some celebrity—she raced speed boats or was a conjoined twin in show business; a reclusive painter of renown; a member of the first all-female, integrated swing band. We see Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde's troubled niece, Dolly; West With the Night author Beryl Markham; Edna St. Vincent Millay's sister, Norma. These extraordinary stories travel the world, explore the past (and delve into the future), and portray fiercely independent women defined by their acts of bravery, creative impulses, and sometimes reckless decisions.The world hasn't always been kind to unusual women, but through Megan Mayhew Bergman's alluring depictions they finally receive the attention they deserve. Almost Famous Women is a gorgeous collection from an "accomplished writer of short fiction" (Booklist).
The Doll's Alphabet
Camilla Grudova - 2017
Dolls, sewing machines, tinned foods, mirrors, malfunctioning bodies - many images recur in stories that are in turn child-like and naive, grotesque and very dark.In Unstitching, a feminist revolution takes place. In Waxy, a factory worker fights to keep hold of her Man in a society where it is frowned upon to be Manless. In Agata's Machine, two schoolgirls conjure a Pierrot and an angel in a dank attic room. In Notes from a Spider, a half-man, half-spider finds love in a great European city.By constantly reinventing ways to engage with her obsessions and motifs, Camilla Grudova has come up with a method for storytelling that is highly imaginative, incredibly original, and absolutely discomfiting.Content:- Unstitching (2017)- The Mouse Queen (2017)- The Gothic Society (2017)- Waxy (2016)- The Doll's Alphabet (2017)- The Mermaid (2017)- Agata's Machine (2015)- Rhinoceros (2017)- The Sad Tale of the Sconce (2017)- Edward, Do Not Pamper the Dead (2017)- Hungarian Sprats (2017)- The Moth Emporium (2017)- Notes from a Spider (2017)
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting - 2010
One is the main course of dinner, another the porn star contracted to copulate in space for a reality TV show. They become futuristic ant farms, get knocked up by the star high school quarterback and have secret abortions, use parakeets to reverse amputations, make love to garden gnomes, go into air conditioning ducts to confront their mother’s ghost, and do so in settings that range from Hell to the local white-supremacist bowling alley.
Shit Cassandra Saw
Gwen E. Kirby - 2022
In this ebullient collection, virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren't ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. Gwen E. Kirby experiments with found structures--a Yelp review, a WikiHow article--which her fierce, irreverent narrators push against, showing how creativity within an enclosed space undermines and deconstructs the constraints themselves. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse be secondary characters a moment longer. From "The Best and Only Whore of Cym Hyfryd, 1886" to the "Midwestern Girl [who] is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories," Kirby is playing and laughing with the women who have come before her and they are telling her, we have always been this way. You just had to know where to look.
Danielle Lazarin - 2018
In “Floor Plans,” a woman at the end of her marriage tests her power when she inadvertently befriends the neighbor trying to buy her apartment. In “Appetite,” a sixteen-year old grieving her mother’s death experiences first love and questions how much more heartbreak she and her family can endure. In “Dinosaurs,” a recent widower and a young babysitter help each other navigate how much they have to give—and how much they can take—from the people around them. Through stories that are at once empathetic and unexpected, these women and girls defiantly push the boundaries between selfishness and self-possession. With a fresh voice and bold honesty, Back Talk examines how narrowly our culture allows women to express their desires.
The Best American Short Stories 2018
Roxane Gay - 2018
“I am looking for the artful way any given story is conveyed,” writes Roxane Gay in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2018, “but I also love when a story has a powerful message, when a story teaches me something about the world.” The artful, profound, and sometimes funny stories Gay chose for the collection transport readers from a fraught family reunion to an immigration detention center, from a psychiatric hospital to a coed class sleepover in a natural history museum. We meet a rebellious summer camper, a Twitter addict, and an Appalachian preacher—all characters and circumstances that show us what we “need to know about the lives of others.”
Bad Dreams and Other Stories
Tessa Hadley - 2017
Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby; a child awake in the night explores the familiar rooms of her home, strange in the dark; a housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. The first steps into a turning point and a new life are made so easily and carelessly: the stories focus in on crucial moments of transition, often imperceptible to the protagonists. A girl accepts a lift in a car with some older boys, or a young woman reads the diaries she comes across when she’s housesitting. Small acts have large consequences, and some of them reverberate across decades; things fantasised in private can reach out to affect other people, for better and worse. An older woman recovering from serious illness speaks to a lonely young man on a train; an old friend brings bad news to a dinner party; a schoolteacher in the throes of a painful affair in 1914 has mixed feelings about her pupils’ suffragette craze. The real things that happen to people, the accidents that befall them, are every bit as mysterious as their longings and their dreams.Bad Dreams shows yet again that Tessa Hadley is a master of her art, one of the very finest writers at work in Britain today.
I Hold a Wolf by the Ears
Laura van den Berg - 2020
Both timeless and urgent, these eleven stories confront misogyny, violence, and the impossible economics of America with van den Berg's trademark spiky humor and surreal eye. Moving from the peculiarities of Florida to liminal spaces of travel in Mexico City, Sicily, and Spain, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears is uncannily attuned to our current moment, and to the thoughts we reveal to no one but ourselves.In "Lizards," a man mutes his wife's anxieties by giving her a La Croix-like seltzer laced with sedatives. In the title story, a woman poses as her more successful sister during a botched Italian holiday, a choice that brings about strange and violent consequences, while in "Karolina," a woman discovers her prickly ex-sister-in-law in the aftermath of an earthquake and is forced to face the truth about her violent brother.I Hold a Wolf by the Ears presents a collection of women on the verge, trying to grasp what's left of life: grieving, divorced, and hyperaware, searching, vulnerable, and unhinged, they exist in a world that deviates from our own only when you look too close. With remarkable control and transcendent talent, van den Berg dissolves, in the words of the narrator of "Slumberland," "that border between magic and annihilation," and further establishes herself as a defining fiction writer of our time.
The Thing Around Your Neck
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 2008
Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.In "A Private Experience," a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she's been pushing away. In "Tomorrow is Too Far," a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother's death. The young mother at the center of "Imitation" finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie's signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.
You Know You Want This
Kristen Roupenian - 2019
Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.Spanning a range of genres and topics—from the mundane to the murderous and supernatural—these are stories about sex and punishment, guilt and anger, the pleasure and terror of inflicting and experiencing pain. These stories fascinate and repel, revolt and arouse, scare and delight in equal measure. And, as a collection, they point a finger at you, daring you to feel uncomfortable—or worse, understood—as if to say, “You want this, right? You know you want this.”Bad boy --Look at your game, girl --Sardines --The night runner --The mirror, the bucket, and the old thigh bone --Cat person --The good guy --The boy in the pool --Scarred --The matchbox sign --Death wish --Biter --Acknowledgments
Margaret Atwood - 1983
Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and seasons of exotic friends, mundane lives, and unexpected loves. But here too is the inner world of hidden places and all that emerges from them-the intimately personal, the fantastic, the shockingly real...whether it's what lives in a mysterious locked room or the secret feelings we all conceal. In this dramatic and far-ranging collection, Margaret Atwood proves why she is a true master of the genre.
Show Them a Good Time
Nicole Flattery - 2019
Show Them a Good Time tells the stories of women slotted away into restrictive roles: the celebrity's girlfriend, the widower's second wife, the lecherous professor's student, the corporate employee. And yet, the genius of Flattery's characters is to blithely demolish the boundaries of these limited and limiting social types with immense complexity and caustic intelligence. Nicole Flattery's women are too ferociously mordant, too painfully funny to remain in their places.In this fiercely original and blazingly brilliant debut, Flattery likewise deconstructs the conventions of genre to serve up strange realities: In Not the End Yet, Flattery probes the hilarious and wrenching ambivalence of Internet dating as the apocalypse nears; in Sweet Talk, the mysterious disappearance of a number of local women sets the scene for a young girl to confront the dangerous uncertainties of her own sexuality; in this collection's center piece, Abortion, A Love Story, two college students in a dystopian campus reconfigure the perilous stories of their bodies in a fraught academic culture to offer a subversive, alarming, and wickedly funny play that takes over their own offstage lives. And yet, however surreal or richly imagined the setting, Flattery always shows us these strange worlds from startlingly unexpected angles, through an unforgettable cast of brutally honest, darkly hilarious women and girls.Like the stories of Mary Gaitskill, Miranda July, Lorrie Moore, Joy Williams, and Ottessa Moshfegh, Show Them a Good Time is the work of a profoundly resonant and revelatory literary voice – at once spiky, humane, achingly hilarious-- that is sure to echo through the literary culture for decades to come.