Julie’s thoughts: I like to have my world shaken like a good martini, skip the olives. The stranger the story, the more apt I am to read it. Kelly Link is a bountiful harvest of the weird, brain-melting, unsettling, brilliant, razor-tipped stories I love the most. This collection of twisted, modern fairy tales is exactly the kind of strange I long for.
Finding seeds of inspiration in the Brothers Grimm, seventeenth-century French lore, and Scottish ballads, Kelly Link spins classic fairy tales into utterly original stories of seekers–characters on the hunt for love, connection, revenge, or their own sense of purpose.
In “The White Cat’s Divorce,” an aging billionaire sends his three sons on a series of absurd goose chases to decide which will become his heir. In “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear,” a professor with a delicate health condition becomes stranded for days in an airport hotel after a conference, desperate to get home to her wife and young daughter, and in acute danger of being late for an appointment that cannot be missed. In “Skinder’s Veil,” a young man agrees to take over a remote house-sitting gig for a friend. But what should be a chance to focus on his long-avoided dissertation instead becomes a wildly unexpected journey, as the house seems to be a portal for otherworldly travelers–or perhaps a door into his own mysterious psyche.
Twisting and winding in astonishing ways, expertly blending realism and the speculative, witty, empathetic, and never predictable–these stories remind us once again of why Kelly Link is incomparable in the art of short fiction.