Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

This collection of short stories doesn't disappoint. My favorite story ("Magic for Beginners"), not surprisingly, features a TV show called "The Library". A group of friends, somewhat tied together because of the show, feature as main characters. Jeremy is our protagonist. His mother is a librarian. His father writes horror stories about gigantic spiders, is a compulsive shoplifter, and reupholsters furniture as a hobby. The friendship between the group of teenagers is magical, woven together as Link brings us into the story.

Jeremy's mother's great-aunt has passed away leaving them a Vegas wedding chapel and a phone booth. It begins as a whim, but becomes a compulsion for him to call the phone booth. Once a breathy female voice, sounding remarkably like the main character of his favorite show, Fox, answers.

The other stories run the gamut of sci-fi/fantasy with such imagination and ingenuity that everyone will find a story that they enjoy. Link's prose is magical, with moments that begin to feel familiar only to take you in a direction you never expected. The characters are relate-able and intriguing. The stories leave you wanting more. Some are set in the present, some in the past, some in the not-too-distant future, some in a parallel universe to ours.

This collection by Link is well worth picking up. There is something for everyone, from soccer players to aliens, from ghosts to a fighting statue, from monsters to wizards, from grave robbing poets to a magical boy named Onion, from villages that exist inside purses to love interests who are not what they seem. I will be on the lookout for any other Kelly Link I can find.
"On Jeremy's desk is a scrap of paper with a phone number on it. If he wanted to, he could call his phone booth. When he dials the number, it rings for a long time. Jeremy sits on his bed in the dark and listens to it ringing and ringing. When someone picks it up, he almost hangs up.

Someone doesn't say anything, so Jeremy says, 'Hello? Hello?'
Someone breathes into the phone on the other end of the line. Someone says in a soft, musical, squeaky voice, 'Can't talk now, kid. Call back later.' Then someone hangs up," (Link pg. 105, 2008).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link and Shelley Jackson
A Foot in the Grave by Joan Aiken and Jan Pienkowski
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block
3 a.m.: a collection of short stories by Dallas Woodburn

Link, Kelly and Tan, Shaun, Ill. (2008). Pretty Monsters. Viking: New York, NY.

No comments:

Post a Comment