Magic for Beginners

Kelly Link  - published July 2005

hardcover · 9781931520157

Best of the Decade: Salon, The Onion, HTML Giant, Village Voice.
Best of the Year: Time Magazine, Salon, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times. 

Available in hardcover from Small Beer Press and in paperback, ebook, and audio from Random House. (See here for international editions.) The limited edition is sold out. See below for more.

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.”

“Her exquisite stories mix the aggravations and epiphanies of everyday life with the stuff that legends, dreams and nightmares are made of, from pop culture to fairy tales. Some of these pieces are very scary, others are immensely sad, many are funny and all of them are written in prose so flawless you almost forget how much elemental human chaos they contain.”
Salon, Best of the Decade


“Intricate, wildly imaginative and totally wonderful. Whether or not you think you like fantasy, if you’re a fan of inventive plots and good writing (her use of language will fill you with awe), don’t miss Kelly Link’s collection.”
Nancy Pearl, NPR

“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.”
Time Magazine

“Link’s writing shimmers with imagination.”
— Salon

Book Sense Pick: “Kelly Link is my favorite new fantasy writer. She mixes up fairy-tale monsters and our modern world to create unique, humane stories that illuminate the joy and pain of everyday stuff. These stories are magic.” –Michael Wells, Bailey-Coy Books, Seattle, WA

Story Prize recommended reading list.
Locus Award winner.
Young Lions Award, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Finalist.

(More reviews)

Table of Contents: The Faery Handbag : The Hortlak : The Cannon : Stone Animals : Catskin : Some Zombie Contingency Plans : The Great Divorce : Magic for Beginners : Lull.

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. The Faery Handbag” received the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards and was a finalist for the British Science Fiction Association and World Fantasy Awards. “Magic for Beginners” received the Nebula, Locus, and British Science Fiction Association Awards and was a finalist for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, Hugo, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Award.

The limited edition is now sold out.
Overstock, unnumbered unsigned copies are available for $70.

Hand-numbered and signed by the author and illustrator and includes two tipped-in plates: an enlargement of the title story illustration and a color reproduction of the trade dustjacket painting by Shelley Jackson which is based on “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci held in The Czartoryskich Museum in Krakow. Printed by Thomson-Shore of Dexter, MI, on 70# Finch Opaque Cream White Smooth paper, with 80# Oatmeal Rainbow Endpapers, Smyth Sewn in Cobalt Blue Pearl Linen Cloth, with a ribbon to keep your place.

October 2, 2008: Released under Creative Commons.
September 30, 2013: Taken down from Creative Commons due to rights sale.

See also: