Carmen Maria Machado Recommends . . .

Fri 4 Jan 2019 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Over on Electric Lit Carmen Maria Machado, or, rather Carmen Maria Machado yeah! — got 2019 off to a shiny bright start with some lovely lovely things she said about books by Shirley Jackson, Joanna Russ, Gloria Naylor — as well as Sofia Samatar and Kelly:

Stranger Things Happen, Kelly Link

When I was a baby writer, a friend recommended I check out Kelly Link’s stories, and it changed my life. I don’t mean that hyperbolically: if you are a reader who loves my work, you have Kelly Link’s mind-bending, genre-smashing, so-good-you-want-to-die fiction to thank. An entire generation of female fabulists have been profoundly influenced by her, and she was also my gateway drug into some of my other favorite authors: Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber), Kathryn Davis (Duplex), Shirley Jackson (Haunted of Hill House), and so many others.

Tender Sofia Samatar

2017 might seem like a pretty recent year for a book to have influenced me, but Sofia Samatar has been publishing these stories in magazines for ages, and they haven’t lost an ounce of their magic or eeriness. Samatar is best known for her secondary-world fantasy duology A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories, but this collection of short stories occupies a different, more liminal space. Samatar’s keen and nimble mind, gorgeous sentences, and incredible imagination are on full display here; she balances beauty and horror in a way that thrills and inspires me. If you love Helen Oyeyemi (What is Not Yours is Not Yours), Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves), or Kij Johnson (At the Mouth of the River of Bees), you need this book. (Bonus: It was published by Small Beer Press, owned by Kelly Link and her husband, Gavin Grant. They publish tons of amazing fiction, much of it by women. Check them out!)

Stranger Things Happen Tender cover


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