Get in Trouble

Random. Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780804179683. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804179713. F
The cover of Link's new short story collection—the advance copy, anyway—is blanketed with raves from major authors. To be sure, her stories are wonderful creations; the author has a way of concocting a unique world in each piece and drawing in the reader. "The Summer People," for instance, features an Appalachian girl who minds the house of some unseen people, who seem to be both hoarders and fairies. In the futuristic "The New Boyfriend," teenage girls have superficial and dysfunctional relationships with life-sized boyfriend dolls. In "Light," a plucky, hard-drinking woman with two shadows employed at a company that ships and houses the inert victims of a mysterious sleeping epidemic gears up for a hurricane.
VERDICT Link's fiction could be described as a combination of George Saunders's eerie near-reality mixed with Amy Hempel's badda-boom timing, plus a dose of Karen Russell's otherworldly tropical sensibility. In short, the tales are imaginatively bizarre yet can be seen as allegorical representations of our own crazy modern world. Most of the protagonists here are female and resourceful; it's a pleasure to immerse oneself in fantasy worlds where women aren't victims or pale stereotypes. [See Prepub Alert, 8/22/14.]
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