July 1, 2005 ·
1-931520-15-1 · $24.00 · Illustrated by Shelley Jackson.
Best of the Year:
- "Link's stories ... play
in a place few writers go, a netherworld between literature and
fantasy, Alice Munro and J.K. Rowling, and Link finds truths there
that most authors wouldn't dare touch."
- "Link's writing shimmers
- "A mind-bending blast,
as funny, disturbing and poignant as anything I've read this year."
- "The storyteller's mantra
-- "It gets better" -- come to life and multiplied."
- "Link's powerful prose places
this collection into a class of its own."
(2005 Notable Books)
- San Francisco Chronicle.
(available here and at select bookshops) and trade hardcover. Paperback
published 8/06 by Harcourt Harvest.
Link's engaging and funny second
collection -- call it kitchen-sink magical realism -- riffs on haunted
convenience stores, husbands and wives, rabbits, zombies, weekly apocalyptic
poker parties, witches, superheroes, marriage, and cannons -- and
includes several new stories. Link
is an original voice: no one else writes quite like this.
Each story is illustrated by cover
artist Shelley Jackson.
The cover is modeled on Leonardo Da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine."
Stories from Magic for Beginners
have been published in McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling
Tales, Conjunctions, The Dark, and One Story. "Stone
Animals" was selected for The Best American Short Stories: 2005.
Table of Contents: The
Faery Handbag : The Hortlak : The Cannon : Stone Animals : Catskin
: Some Zombie Contingency Plans : The Great Divorce : Magic for Beginners
Prize recommended reading list.
* Not only does Link find fresh
perspectives from which to explore familiar premises, she also forges
ingenious connections between disparate images and narrative approaches
to suggest a convincing alternate logic that shapes the worlds of
her highly original fantasies."
-- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"KELLY LINK has an uncanny
knack for casting spells over her readers, for luring them into the
dark places -- the attic, the underworld, a realm beneath a hill.
These stories bend and transcend genre as Link stirs together myth,
mystery, horror, and fantasy. Fairy tales and myths may be timeless,
but these stories are of this moment."
-- Nina MacLaughlin, Boston
"Cult-favorite fabulist and
Shirley Jackson-esque master of the short story, returns with an eagerly-awaited
new collection of thoughtfully strange tales that sprinkle the mundane
with pixie dust, a dash of old-fashioned tragedy and a bit of gallows
-- The Ruminator Review
"A collection of nine scintillating
stories, three original, by one of our greatest short story writers.
'A complete delight.' [Rich Horton]"
"This is one of the most
extraordinary and wonderful books of the year."
—Time Out London, Mar. 27, 07
"Possibly grimmer than Grimm."
—The Herald, Feb 2, 07
"Beautifully written short
stories; eccentric and dark, the collection is an Alice in Wonderland
—Dazed and Confused
"Link's writing is bold,
tender, mischievous and unsettling."
—Cork Evening Echo, Feb 17, 07
"These are weird and wacky
tales, each with their own barmy internal logic which draws you in,
flips you on your head and leaves you dizzy with disbelief.... Link's
extraordinary use of language is as haunting as the tales themselves.
She blends fantasy and reality into an irresistible melange that,
at its best, becomes a powerful metaphor for the unreliability of
—Jane Wessel, Venue (****)
"Link's magic is to show
the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice versa: no mean feat."
—RTE Guide (*****)
"Just when you think you've
read all the best magic and fantasy stories, along comes Link and
the dull world is enchanted all over again. Her imagination floats
free into her very own twilight zone."
—Saga, Mar 07
"Whether she's writing about
a suburban family haunted by rabbits or a grandmother who keeps a
world hidden in her handbag, Link's stories are witty, moving and
—The Gloss Magazine, Feb 07
"A collection of nine stories
from a talent to watch, this is a lyrical fantasy where the ordinary
is made extraordinary."
—The Bookseller, Oct 06
"Kelly Link owns the most darkly
playful voice in American fiction since Donald Barthelme. She is pushing
the American short story into places that it hasn't yet been pushed,
while somehow managing to maintain a powerful connection to traditional
forms and storytelling values."
-- Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
"The dream-logic of Magic
for Beginners is intoxicating. These stories will come alive,
put on zoot suits, and wrestle you to the ground. They want you and
you will be theirs."
-- Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones
"A wonderful rattlebag of
fantastic tales from far beyond the concrete sidewalks and convenience
stores we know. Like her first collection, Magic for Beginners
uses humor as the main prism through which the author views her mostly
hapless or at least happy-go-lucky characters. The strange attraction
of Link's fiction is that even when you're not really sure what's
going on you're having way too much fun reading to stop and rereading
these tall tales is a positive pleasure."
-- Rich Rennicks Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC
"The stories in Magic
for Beginners make their own strange, perfectly formed sense.
Link creates these familiar, spooky, sometimes funny worlds with cats
parented by witches, or a cheerleader hanging out with the devil,
or creepifying rabbits. I'm always a little tense reading these stories.
In the very best way, I never know what is coming next. If she only
parcelled out one elegant sentence at a time I would beg for each
-- Pam Harcourt, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL