Stranger Things Happen

“Pity the poor librarians who have to slap a sticker on Kelly Link’s genre-bending, mind-blowing masterpiece of the imagination, Stranger Things Happen.”
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia, for NPR’s You Must Read This

This first collection by award-winning author Kelly Link, takes fairy tales and cautionary tales, dictators and extraterrestrials, amnesiacs and honeymooners, revenants and readers alike, on a voyage into new, strange, and wonderful territory. The girl detective must go to the underworld to solve the case of the tap-dancing bank robbers. A librarian falls in love with a girl whose father collects artificial noses. A dead man posts letters home to his estranged wife. Two women named Louise begin a series of consecutive love affairs with a string of cellists. A newly married couple become participants in an apocalyptic beauty pageant. Sexy blond aliens invade New York City. A young girl learns how to make herself disappear.

These eleven extraordinary stories are quirky, spooky, and smart. They all have happy endings. Every story contains a secret prize. Each story was written especially for you.

Stories from Stranger Things Happen have won the Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Award. Stranger Things Happen was a Salon Book of the Year, one of the Village Voice’s 25 Favorite Books of 2001, and was nominated for the Firecracker Alternative Book Award. Cover by Shelley Jackson.


Eleven years after first publication, Stranger Things Happen was published in a hardcover edition. One of Kelly’s favorite artists, Kathleen Jennings, provided the cover illustration as well as story headers for each of the eleven stories. This special signed limited edition is accompanied by a exclusive chapbook, Origin Stories, which contains two stories, “Origin Stories” and “Secret Identity.” There are only 500 copies and we have arranged with Kelly for her to personalize copies ordered here.



Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
Water Off a Black Dog’s Back
The Specialist’s Hat
Flying Lessons
Travels with the Snow Queen
Vanishing Act
Survivor’s Ball, or, The Donner Party
Shoe and Marriage
Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water
Louise’s Ghost
The Girl Detective

Japanese edition.



“My favorite fantasy writer, Miss Kelly Link”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered

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

Stranger Things Happen is 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, Aug. 26, 2001

“Quirky and exuberantly imagined….the best shed a warm, weird light on their worlds, illuminating fresh perspectives and fantastic possibilities.”
Publisher’s Weekly, June 25, 2001

“Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link’s a writer to watch.”
Kirkus Reviews, June 2001

“It is the tradition of the dust-jacket “blurb” to exaggerate the excellences of a book in hopes of enticing readers between its covers. But I do not follow that custom when I say that Stranger Things Happen is one of the very best books I have ever read. These stories will amaze, provoke, and intrigue. Best of all, they will delight. Kelly Link is terrific! This is not blurbese. It is the living truth.”
— Fred Chappell, author of Family Gathering

“Finally, Kelly Link’s wonderful stories have been collected. My only complaint is the brevity of her oeuvre to date; as an avid reader of her work , I want her to continue to create more gems for me to read. I predict that “The Specialist’s Hat,” winner of the World Fantasy Award, will become part of the canon of classic supernatural tales.”
— Ellen Datlow

“I’ve been impatiently awaiting a collection of Kelly Link’s stories. Now that it’s here, it will sit in my library on that very short shelf of books I read again and again. For those who think Fantasy tired, Stranger Things Happen is a wake-up call.”
— Jeffrey Ford

“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, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

“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, author of American Gods

“Link’s writing is gorgeous, mischievous, sexy and unsettling. Unexpected images burst on your brain like soap bubbles on a dog’s tongue. I’ve been trying to imitate her since I first read one of her stories. It’s impossible. Instead I find myself curling up with a satisfied sigh and enjoying once more.”
— Nalo Hopkinson, author of Midnight Robber

“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, author of Motherless Brooklyn

“Kelly Link is a brilliant writer. Her stories seem to come right out of your own dreams, the nice ones and the nightmares both. These stories will burrow right into your subconscious and stay with you forever.”
— Tim Powers, author of On Stranger Tides

“Of all the books you’ll read this year, this is the one you’ll remember. Kelly Link’s stories are like gorgeous tattoos; they get under your skin and stay forever and change your life.  Buy this book, read it, read it again, congratulate yourself, and then start buying Stranger Things Happen for your friends.”
— Sarah Smith, author of A Citizen of the Country

“Kelly Link makes spells, not stories. She is the carrier of an eerie, tender sorcery; each enchantment takes you like a curse, leaving you dizzy, wounded, and elated at once. Her vision is always compassionate, and frequently very funny–but don’t let that fool you. This book, like all real magic, is terribly dangerous. You open it at your peril.”
— Sean Stewart, author of Galveston

“If Kelly Link is not the “future of horror,” a ridiculous phrase, she ought to be. To have a future at all, horror in general, by which I might as well mean fiction in general, requires precisely her freshness, courage, intelligence, and resistance to received forms and values. Kelly Link seems always to speak from a deep, deeply personal, and unexpected standpoint. Story by story, she is creating new worlds, new frameworks for perception, right in front of our eyes. I think she is the most impressive writer of her generation.”
— Peter Straub, author of Magic Terror