Stranger Things Happen: Stories

( 23 )

Overview

“An alchemical mix of Borges, Raymond Chandler and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”—Salon.com (Best of the Year)

“A delightful collection.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“My favorite fantasy writer.”—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

"Link's stories defy explanation, or at least, brief summary, instead working on the plane between dream and cognitive dissonance. They are true to themselves: witty, beautiful, funny, and ...

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Stranger Things Happen: Stories

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Overview

“An alchemical mix of Borges, Raymond Chandler and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”—Salon.com (Best of the Year)

“A delightful collection.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“My favorite fantasy writer.”—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

"Link's stories defy explanation, or at least, brief summary, instead working on the plane between dream and cognitive dissonance. They are true to themselves: witty, beautiful, funny, and startling."—Rain Taxi

"Link uses the nonsensical to illuminate truth, blurring the distinctions between the mundane and the fantastic to tease out the underlying meanings of modern life."—Booklist

"The 11 fantasies in this first collection from rising star Link are so quirky and exuberantly imagined that one is easily distracted from their surprisingly serious underpinnings of private pain and emotional estrangement."
Publishers Weekly

Kelly Link's collection of stories, Stranger Things Happen, really scores.
—Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Magazine

"A tremendously appealing book, and lovers of short fiction should fall over themselves getting out the door to find a copy."
Washington Post Book World

"Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link's a writer to watch."
Kirkus Reviews

"A set of stories that are by turns dazzling, funny, scary, and sexy, but only when they're not all of these at once. Kelly Link has strangeness, charm and spin to spare. Writers better than this don't happen."
—Karen Joy Fowler

"Kelly Link is probably the best short story writer currently out there, in any genre or none. She puts one word after another and makes real magic with them-funny, moving, tender, brave and dangerous. She is unique, and should be declared a national treasure, and possibly surrounded at all times by a cordon of armed marines."
—Neil Gaiman

"Kelly Link is the exact best and strangest and funniest short story writer on earth that you have never heard of at the exact moment you are reading these words and making them slightly inexact. Now pay for the book."
—Jonathan Lethem

The eleven stories in Kelly Link’s debut collection are funny, spooky, and smart. They all have happy endings. They were all especially written for you. A Best of the Year pick from Salon.com, Locus, The Village Voice, and San Francisco Chronicle. Includes Nebula, World Fantasy, and Tiptree award-winning stories.

Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short fiction Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebula, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question “Why do you want to go through the world?” (”Because you can’t go through it.”)

Link lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press, co-edit the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and play ping-pong. In 1996 they startd the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Eleven stories showcase a dexterous use of language and a startling, if frequently elusive, imagination as ghosts, aliens, and the living dead invade the most mundane aspects of everyday life. Newcomer Link references fairy tales, mythology, and bits of our common contemporary cultural experience, not to offer commentary but to take off on her own original riffs. So in "Shoe and Marriage" we meet a dictator's widow, unavoidably reminiscent of Imelda Marcos, living in a museum that displays the shoes she took from her husband's murder victims. The story, which also describes a bizarre beauty pageant, plays verbally with shoe metaphors from Cinderella's slippers to Dorothy's ruby reds, but what touches you is not the author's verbal acrobatics but the widow's deep sense of sorrow and horror. Like many of the pieces here, "Shoe and Marriage" joins disparate parts that don't always fit together, but linear connections are not the aim. When she depends too much on pure cleverness, Link ends up sounding derivative and brittle. "Survivor's Ball, or The Donner Party," in which two travelers come to an inn where a creepy if lavish shindig is in full swing, reminds you too insistently of Poe. "Flying Lessons," about a girl's love for a boy whose desire to fly ends tragically (hint, hint), and "Travels With the Snow Queen," in which the fairy tale is revamped to read cute, come across as writing-school literary. But at her best, Link produces oddly moving imagery. In "Louise's Ghost," two friends named Louise have overlapping affairs. The shared name at first seems like another joke, but the tale gradually digs deep into the emotionally charged waters of loss and redemption. Stylistic pyrotechnicslight up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link's a writer to watch.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931520003
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2001
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 344,775
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelly Link is the author of two collections, Magic for Beginners (chosen as a 2005 Best Book by Time Magazine, Salon.com, and Book Sense) and Stranger Things Happen. She is the editor of the anthology Trampoline. She and her husband Gavin J. Grant started Small Beer Press in 2000.

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Table of Contents

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose 9
Water Off a Black Dog's Back 27
The Specialist's Hat 55
Flying Lessons 71
Travels with the Snow Queen 99
Vanishing Act 121
Survivor's Ball, or, The Donner Party 145
Shoe and Marriage 167
Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water 191
Louise's Ghost 205
The Girl Detective 241
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    Dreamy and smart and beautiful...

    Kelly Link makes everything magical. Her words have lived inside my head since the day I opened this book. I don't care if you're a half-dead tweaker or a Head of State in a facist regime or a normal person who's just looking for something that'll make a plane ride less cramped and smelly...this is your book. It's for you. Waiting right here. The stories are spectacular in their breadth and their whimsy and their wonder. And then you can come back and re-read them, and they've changed a little, because you've changed a little...and the reading process becomes so pleasant and sublime that the other books on your shelves are going to get jealous.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2001

    Wow!

    All eleven short stories here are crackers. Anyone who¿s a fan of Alice Munro, Carol Emshwiller, Lorrie Moore, Peter Straub, or just a well-written short story needs to check out this collection. Some of the stories have been published before, I saw one in Fence Magazine, and maybe online too, but it is well worth seeing them all in one place. And look at that cover!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Excellent read

    Kelly Link is my favorite short story writer in the business right now. She's got a great sense of humor, a wonderful imagination, and genuine story telling skill. It's not literature but it's not empty escapism either. If you like fantasy, you'll like Kelly Link.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    LOVED IT!

    I read one of Link's stories in my American Lit class and I liked it so much I had to read more. Water off a Black Dog's Back and The Specialist's Hat were my favorites of this collection.

    I just feel like Link has that something more in her writing that really absorbs you. Some people might hesitate because of her use of magical realism...you think that the magic realism will be trite, but by the time it is introduced into the story you are so absorbed that your reaction ends up being something along the lines of: a living hat with rows of real teeth - of course, wouldn't have it any other way.

    Read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    Very disappointing

    I love short stories and am very ecclectic in the kinds of stories I like. When I heard about this on National Public Radio, I thought it would be a great book for the long flight to Australia. It was very disappointing. The stories would start out with an interesting style and premise and then just go nowhere. My husband and daughter tried a few of the stories and were equally unimpressed. We pitched the book rather than burden anyone else with it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2002

    wonderful

    This is simply wonderful. Imaginative and fun, creative, spooky and surprising are all words to describe Kelly Link's writing. It's better than a barrel of monkeys.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2001

    One of the finest short story writers working today!

    This is simply a gem of a collection. Anyone who enjoys contemporary short fiction and appreciates prose that can cut glass should buy this book. Kelly Link is as good as it gets.

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