Get in Trouble: Stories

Overview

She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.
 
Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, ...

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Get in Trouble: Stories

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This item will be available on February 3, 2015.
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Overview

She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.
 
Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.
 
Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.
 
Advance praise for Get in Trouble
 
“Kelly Link is the author whose books I would take to the proverbial desert island. Link’s work is always darkly funny, sexy, frightening, and truly weird—she can dismantle and remake the world in a paragraph. Get in Trouble offers further proof that she belongs on every reader’s bookshelf.”—Karen Russell
 
Get in Trouble contains some of Link’s best writing yet. These are not so much small fictions as windows onto entire worlds. This is a brilliant, giddying read.”—Sarah Waters
 
“Kelly Link is one of my all-time favorite writers. You know who else would love her? Kafka and Lewis Carroll. Like them, she knows the things the rest of us don’t. But she also knows how to make well-known heartbreaks glow with strange new lights.”—Arthur Phillips
 
“Kelly Link’s prose is conveyed in details so startling and fine that you work up a sweat just waiting for the next sentence to land. This is why we read, crave, need, can’t live without short stories.”—Téa Obreht
 
“Kelly Link is inimitable. Her stories are like nothing else, dark yet sparkling with her unique brand of fairy dust. This is the most marvelous kind of trouble to get in.”—Erin Morgenstern
 
“Every one of the stories in this collection is like a one-of-a-kind jack-in-the-box. How does Kelly Link understand our pains and longings and memories and even our futures so well?”—Yiyun Li
 
“Close your mouth and get out of the way, because here comes Kelly Link, than whom no one is better.”—Peter Straub

“The stories in Get In Trouble confirm once again that Kelly Link is a modern virtuoso of the form—playful and subversive required reading for anyone who loves short fiction.”—Jeff VanderMeer

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/15/2014
These nine stories may begin in familiar territory—a birthday party, a theme park, a bar, a spaceship—but they quickly draw readers into an imaginative, disturbingly ominous world of realistic fantasy and unreal reality. Like Kafka hosting Saturday Night Live, Link mixes humor with existential dread. The first story, entitled "The Summer People," in homage to Shirley Jackson, follows an Appalachian schoolgirl, abandoned by her moonshiner father, as she looks after a summer house occupied by mysterious beings. "I Can See Right Through You" features friends who, in their youth, were movie stars; now in middle age, she is the hostess and he is the guest star of a television show about hunting ghosts at a Florida nudist colony. "Origin Story" takes place in a deserted Land of Oz theme park; "Secret Identity" is set at a hotel where dentists and superheroes attend simultaneous conferences. Only in a Link story would you encounter Mann Man, a superhero with the powers of Thomas Mann, or visit a world with pools overrun by Disney mermaids. Details—a bruise-green sky, a Beretta dotted with Hello Kitty stickers—bring the unimaginable to unnerving life. Each carefully crafted tale forms its own pocket universe, at once ordinary (a teenage girl adores and resents her BFF) and bizarre (...therefore she tries to steal the BFF's robot vampire boyfriend doll). Link's characters, driven by yearning and obsession, not only get in trouble but seek trouble out—to spectacular effect. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Advance praise for Get in Trouble
 
“Kelly Link is the author whose books I would take to the proverbial desert island, because her books are dream oases. Each one of these ‘short stories’ feels infinitely vast once you are inside it, like the enchanted castles and bottomless wells in fairy tales. Link’s work is always darkly funny, sexy, frightening, and truly weird—she can dismantle and remake the world in a paragraph. Since Magic for Beginners, I’ve been pacing the docks, waiting for more Kelly Link. Get in Trouble offers further proof that she belongs on every reader’s bookshelf.”—Karen Russell

“Link’s stories are always a treat, and Get in Trouble contains some of her best writing yet. Richly imagined, intellectually teasing: These are not so much small fictions as windows onto entire worlds. This is a brilliant, giddying read.”—Sarah Waters
 
“Kelly Link is one of my all-time favorite writers, and the fact that she’s living and is still getting better? By God, that’s a small club. She is unique. You know who else would love her? Kafka and Lewis Carroll. Like them, she knows things the rest of us don’t. But she also knows things we all know: what it feels like to be in love, to want to be in love, to be alone, to want to be alone, to be disappointed in people, to try again. She makes those old heartbreaks glow with strange new lights.”—Arthur Phillips
  
“With Get in Trouble, Kelly Link continues to prove just how much of a literary tightrope walker she really is. Her prose is conveyed in details so startling and fine that each one is like a firework in the brain. You work up a sweat just waiting for the next sentence to land. This is why we read, crave, need, can’t live without short stories.”—Téa Obreht
 
“Kelly Link is inimitable. Her stories are like nothing else, dark yet sparkling with her unique brand of fairy dust, wonderfully strange but still familiar and real. Get in Trouble is filled with pocket universes, each tale containing so much more than its length might suggest and crackling with the unexpected: the most marvelous kind of trouble to get in.”—Erin Morgenstern
 
“Every one of the stories in this collection is like a one-of-a-kind jack-in-the-box. We turn the crank, expecting the laughter, the surprise, the rearrangement of themes familiar to our ears from ages ago, and the turning brings us all those joys. But wait, wait until the box pops open: out comes not Jack nor the weasel but our own exposed hearts. How does Kelly Link understand our pains and longings and memories and even our futures so well, and how does she make us go back to the next jack-in-the-box, again and again, with hope and dread and determination to know life better, to live differently? Kelly Link is a national treasure!”—Yiyun Li

“In this utterly astonishing new collection, Kelly Link demonstrates a perfect and completely mature command of the entirely unexpected, ever-evolving, self-examining, deeply original, emotion-riddled kind of story only she is capable of writing. Another way to say this is: In these stories, Kelly Link is at the top of her self-defined form. Another way to say it is: Close your mouth and get out of the way, because here comes Kelly Link, than whom no one is better.”—Peter Straub
 
“Beautifully written, with light and lightness balanced against darkness and hidden depth, the stories in Get In Trouble confirm once again that Kelly Link is a modern virtuoso of the form—playful and subversive required reading for anyone who loves short fiction.”—Jeff VanderMeer

“Like Kafka hosting Saturday Night Live, Link mixes humor with existential dread. . . . [Her] characters, driven by yearning and obsession, not only get in trouble but seek trouble out—to spectacular effect.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Exquisite, cruelly wise . . . In stories as haunting as anything the Grimm brothers could have come up with, Link gooses the mundane with meaning and enchantment. . . . These stories linger like dreams and will leave readers looking over their shoulders for their own ghosts.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“I fell hard [for] Get in Trouble. . . . I’m way late to the Kelly Link party, given that everyone has been telling me for years how amazing her stories are—utterly addictive, finely wrought concoctions of fantasy and science fiction and literary realism and horror and young adult and old adult.”—Isaac Fitzgerald, The Millions

Library Journal
12/01/2014
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.]—Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804179683
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/3/2015
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 192,128

Meet the Author

Kelly Link is the author of the collections Get in Trouble, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. She and Gavin J. Grant have co-edited a number of anthologies, including multiple volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and, for young adults, Monstrous Affections. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press. Her short stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Link was born in Miami, Florida. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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