SHORT STORIES

The Wrong Heaven: Stories

Little, Brown. Jul. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780316516211. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316516204. F
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarAt once goofy, poignant, and edged with the fantastic, the stories in Bonnaffons's debut collection initially surprise, then turn into one long, delicious rush—you just have to get into the author's frame of mind. For class, a floundering grade-school teacher buys two cheap plastic statues—an Electric Jesus and a Flashing Virgin—that when plugged in come alive and finally become overbearing. ("Said Mary,…'You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.' 'Possibly,' said Jesus.") A newly engaged lawyer hangs out at JoyfulSongTime, obsessively singing along to a song she cannot get out of her head and finally collapsing crying in the booth. A woman exhaustively queries a doctor about becoming a horse via a newly discovered procedure, finally finding "alert acceptance." Cancer-afflicted Doris obliges friend Katie by cutting her hair, but sobbing Katie won't let Doris cut her own. Throughout, Bonnaffons shows us absurdity and carefully managed pain.
VERDICT Not just fun but full of smart ideas; as the woman-become-horse observes, "Would you rather transform your Core, or your entire being?"

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month