I’ve been dipping in and out of Kelly Link’s most recent short story collection Get in Trouble of late. I’m really enjoying it, but I’ve also found it quite challenging in subtle, surprising ways. I may have something to say about it eventually, but in the meantime, here’s an excerpt from from the New York Times review:

When fiction enters a nonrealistic, fantastic zone, but is clearly not quick-read fantasy, many readers will begin mining the work for satire. I struggled with Link’s stories when I tried to read them like this. Although there is some similarity in tone between Kelly Link and George Saunders, her stories do not respond to this kind of reading as his do. Saunders, operating in a more obviously Baudrillardian hyperreal, is always happy to exaggerate our media-frenzied, overfictionalized world, even throwing in the odd sentimental ending or deliberate duff note from time to time because he knows that we know how to read it. We enter Saunders’s worlds, exaggerated and grotesque, so that we can see ours better. Link seems less interested in all this. She also wants us to look back at ourselves, but she wants us to see people rather than institutions and structures. Like other writers in the tradition of the modern American short story, she wants us to look closely at the small stuff of life.

I have a lot of reactions to this, but I’m not particularly interested in unpacking any of them at the moment. Maybe–hopefully–I’ll come back to this review at some future moment, but for now I just have to say: yes, the small stuff, that’s where it’s at. Fiction that’s about people–what a novel idea.

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