Her Body and Other Parties

7 CDs. 8:45 hrs. HighBridge. Oct. 2017. ISBN 9781681686882. $29.99. digital download. F
This strange and unsettling debut short story collection is serenely interpreted by narrator Amy Landon. This finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction is a weird blend of horror, comedy, dystopia, and fantasy, all served with a massive blend of sex and death. Those who grew up on fairy tales will recognize the wife who categorically refuses to allow her husband to remove the ribbon from around her neck until the day she does, and the predictable happens. A woman lists her many sexual encounters in a dispassionate sort of biography as a plague crosses the United States, finally reaching her little island of safety in Maine. There is a long story wherein every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is described in an incredibly eerie and imaginative way. The visceral and explicit writing is read in a dispassionate tone by Landon. This is the only possible way that this book would work as a recording—the blend of horror, erotica, love stories, sadness, and satire could only be read by an impassive voice, allowing the listener to settle in to the strangeness and boundary-breaking aspects of each piece.
VERDICT Reactions will vary, but astonishment over the sheer artistry and deftness of juggling a number of genres will reign supreme. Purchase where short stories or horror are popular. ["This brilliant debut compilation showcases a fresh literary voice": LJ 10/1/17 starred review of the Graywolf hc.]

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