In the latest episode of his eponymous podcast, this week LeVar Burton reads Kelly’s story “The Specialist’s Hat.” If you’re ready, take a deep breath . . .
“Any collection of Kelly Link’s stories will do. They shimmer in the borderlands of myth, genre, and literature. A convenience store caters to the mild-mannered zombies who emerge from a nearby gorge and clumsily attempt to shop. A group of teenagers bond over an elusive TV series. A suburban family becomes slowly and methodically alienated from every possession they own. Link’s stories can make you shudder, then laugh, then feel like a god has just walked past your window.” —Laura Miller
The story is part of Clare’s epic bestselling Shadowhunter series and is set in “the Shadow Market” which is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires.”
Here are links to Kobo for the Shadow Market serial so far — the ebooks and audiobooks are available at all the usual ebooksites online:
“Son of the Dawn” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
“Cast Long Shadows” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
“Every Exquisite Thing” by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson (June 12, 2018)
There will be a total of ten stories, including another story co-written by Kelly Link and Cassandra Clare, which will be published when all ten stories are collected in a hardcover collection in 2019.
LitHub posted a list of 20 Great Writers on Their Favorite Story Collections which included this:
A one-size-fits-all story collection does not exist, of course—sometimes a writer needs some Borges and sometimes she needs some Lydia Davis. The writer who’s never heard of Barry Hannah probably requires a dose of Airships, and the writer who has never read Steven Millhauser needs to fall into “In the Reign of Harad IV” ASAP.
But if there’s one collection I find myself recommending more than others lately, it’s Kelly Link’s Magic For Beginners. Lots of student writers read Harry Potter or Percy Jackson as kids; maybe in their teens they moved on to Stephen King or Bradbury or Gaiman or (one hopes) LeGuin. I’m learning that these writers, when they’re being asked to read Edith Wharton or John Updike or Melville, are dazzled by Link’s ability to plant multiple limbs in multiple genres. She fuses childhood terrors with adult estrangement; her stories are gorgeous, delicate, spooky, human, and deeply layered.
–Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
Jami Attenberg on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book on reading ghost stories while writing her latest novel All Grown Up:
“Kelly Link: one of my favorite American writers of any kind.Beyond the traditional otherworldliness that is the mark of speculative fiction, Link is an extremely funny writer capable of incredibly human observations in an easy, natural writing style. People disappear in Link’s wide-ranging stories. They move in and out of each other’s lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But there is always a sense of empathy which I perhaps treasure most in a book.”
Nicole Lamy includes Magic for Beginners in her Match Book column which appeared in print for the first time this weekend on October 8, 2017, in the Sunday Book Review:
“More enchantment lies in Kelly Link’s deadpan, winsome collection of short stories “Magic for Beginners,” though angst haunts these pages, too. A lovelorn teenager hunts for her grandmother’s missing handbag; a witch’s children pine for happy lives. Link is a master of teenage consciousness — convenience-store ethos and pop cultural references included — layered with the additional charm of parallel dimensions.”
In a NYT story about authors who own bookstores (Summer Reading Recommendations, From 6 Novelists Who Own Bookstores) in a side note Alexandra Alter noted that Emma Straub’s staff recommendations at her new store Books Are Magic include Magic for Beginners:
A woman with a dog poked her head in the door, which was still being painted, to say that “there has never been more buzz” about a store opening in the neighborhood. Ms. Straub, an owner of the bookstore, told her the place was dog-friendly and invited her to come back when it opened.
The space, a former clothing boutique on Smith Street, still smelled like fresh paint and sawdust. By the register were shelves full of new fiction and nonfiction and a bookcase dedicated to eclectic titles published by The New York Review of Books. Nearby, the fiction section held a mix of contemporary works and classics, including two editions of “Middlemarch,” Ms. Straub’s favorite novel.
Staff picks sat on the opposite wall — Ms. Straub, 37, had recommended “Magic for Beginners,” a collection of short stories by Kelly Link. Down a few stairs, a separate bright, airy room with exposed brick walls, wooden rafters and a skylight was filled almost entirely with children’s books. . . . Read on
Kelly was interviewed ahead of the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City where she was on the Fail Safe podcast and did a reading. Here’s the introduction to the interview and a link:
Her prose has a lilting tone and a conspiratorial voice — and she has a way of creating narrators who get inside your head. Link’s work can be deeply unsettling, because it never feels too far out of reach. The premises and settings that pull her work out of the mundane world can (sometimes literally) take on a life of their own, but it’s the way that the characters — and the readers — react that does the heavy lifting in her stories.
Kelly’s story “Most of My Friends are Two-Thirds Water” was adapted as part of this week’s Snap Judgment:
The hottest alien takeover of all time. This story was originally written by Kelly Link, and comes from her collection, Stranger Things Happen. It was adapted, directed, and produced by Mark Ristich and Eliza Smith.Voice Actors: Glynn Washington and Joyce LeeYou can find all things Kelly Link at her website, kellylink.net/