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Bookworm 2013: The Strangest Things

Posted on | December 5, 2013 | No Comments

Kelly Link - Stranger Things HappenRecommendations by friends are a weird beast. The number of hits and misses is pretty evenly matched, and the difference between these two is indicative of the rift between who I really am, and how others perceive me. As writerly types, my buddies are pretty standoffish with their recommendations, and understand that even near-universal praise is no guarantee of universal appeal, much like A Visit from the Goon Squadthough doubtless well written to the point of Pulitzer, just failed to push any buttons with me. So the recommendation for Kelly Link’s prose came with huge caveats – and not merely due to this rift, but also the fact that Link’s writing lies in an odd little zone of its own.

Stranger Things Happen is a collection of short stories. People describe them as a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and magical realism, with a dash of fairy-tale as a spice, but to me they read almost like poetry in prose, words that skillfully paint pictures and atmosphere, almost like little tableaus that are now permanently lodged in my mind. The opening story in particular, about a dead man struggling with his memory on a dislocated beach, is one that I frequently return to during gray, autumn days (or ones that feel that way).

It would be silly and probably counterproductive to attempt to describe the plot of the stories, because they are not about plot, anyway. One thing that does need to be said, though, is that Link’s writing is very much hit or miss on an individual level – you will either love it, hate it, or remain utterly indifferent, so the best thing to do is to pop over to her site and get a taste of it – much of her work is accessible under a CC licence in a variety of formats, and most of the stories are relatively short, so it will not take much of an effort to see if she hooks you or not.

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    Written in minutes and fact-checked in seconds via Google. May contain unsafe levels of self-righteousness. Past cleverness is no guarantee of future results.
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  • Goodreads

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
    The Ophiuchi Hotline
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    Green Eyes
    Crackpot Palace: Stories
    The Fractal Prince
    The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter

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