Wonderful, magical, all too real

Audio reviews

“Link’s haunting collection of short stories trades in both the familiar and the macabre, creating worlds in which ghosts are accepted, space travel is a given, and superheroes are all too real.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“But Link’s appeal isn’t really about verbal sleight-of-hand. It’s about creating mini-universes that operate according to their own rules, and compelling characters who do the same. Characters like a video-game-fanatic teenager who comes from a small town to New York City, where a convention of dentists and one of superheroes are being held in the same hotel. She’s planning to meet a man she’s encountered only in her online world … but if you think you know how that story turns out, let me assure you: you haven’t got a clue.
The cast of readers, including such stalwarts as Heyborne and Campbell along with others I’d never heard of, does an impeccable job of matching voice to narrative, helping to make this collection one of the best of any year.”
Providence Journal

Print reviews

“Do you like magical realism? Stories that start out in normal places, with regular people, and then get impossible and weird? I don’t, either. It makes me feel as if the rug has been pulled out from underneath me, that I’ve been fooled, led somewhere I didn’t intend to go. . . . But then, I’d never read anything by Kelly Link before. . . . After a few stories, I was hooked. I trusted Link to take me places I wanted to go, even if I didn’t know where.”
— Katie Haegele, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Link deftly fuses science fiction, societal satire, and literature in this brilliantly strange short-story collection. With every tale she conjures a different universe, each more captivating than the last. At first glance these realms don’t seem too far from our own, but soon their wild, mysterious corners are illuminated. In one, rich teens who have implants that render them invisible to cameras hire body doubles to pose for them in public. In another, young girls collect “boyfriend” dolls that look and act more realistic than human boys. But just as you start to comprehend one world, its story ends. Luckily, this text is ripe for rereading—you’ll long to return the minute you leave.” A Entertainment Weekly

“Kelly Link has a knack for snapping readers to attention with her opening lines. “When the sex tape happened and things went south with Fawn, the demon lover did what he always did,” she writes in “I Can See Right Through You,” one of nine stories in this wildly imaginative collection. She sustains interest with eccentric characters and peculiar elements: In “The Summer People,” the father of a flu-ridden girl hits the road for a prayer meeting, leaving her to manage a property inhabited by magical beings. In “Light,” a Florida woman born with two shadows notes that “it was almost impossible to distinguish a homemade or store-bought shadow from a real one.” (She works in a warehouse that stores sleeping people.) Ms. Link never fusses over the surreal twists in her stories, but they contain so much emotional truth that there’s no need to explain a thing.”
— Carmela Ciuraru, New York Times

“As compulsively readable as a trendy YA novel, but have the cultural richness of Angela Carter, the emotional complexity of Alice Munro, and a precise use of language all Link’s own.”
— Alison Broverman, National Post

“Features her signature dark humor in stories about such subjects as an aging movie star visiting a Florida swamp where his ex is making a reality show about ghosts.”
Tampa Bay Times

“These mischievous, clever, playful narratives are replete with tongue-in-cheek pop-cultural references and ironic nods to fantasy and genre fiction themes but operate according to a dream logic that makes it possible for the author’s imagination to truly reign free. Link does not conform to genre but uses it to her own ends — she borrows, blends and pokes good-natured fun and ultimately bring us something fresh and artful.” — Halifax Times-News