[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Random House
Formats: Hardback, eBook, Kindle, Audio Book, Audible
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon[/alert]
Get In Trouble is the newest short story collection from the wonderfully twisted and whimsical mind of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner Kelly Link, and her first book since 2008’s Pretty Monsters. If you’re unfamiliar with Link’s particular brand of literary genre-bending, this volume has it all: shadow twins and lizards, disaffected teenagers who build themselves trendy pyramids, astronauts telling ghost stories within a sentient spaceship named Maureen, and a superhero convention. “Magical realism” really doesn’t come close to capturing the sheer weirdness Link can imprint on a page.
Get In Trouble is filled with gorgeous prose; Link has a knack for succinct yet electric descriptions – “Florida was California on a Troma budget” and “Everybody naked, nobody happy. It’s Scandinavian art porn.” Her signature dark humor twists through each story, often providing a touch point when her imagination conjures new and stranger details in the landscape. Ultimately, though, it’s her motley crew of damaged, yearning, and obsessive characters that linger long past the stories’ final sentences. As bizarre as her worlds and situations can be, there is always a very human heart beating at the core of Link’s tales. We may not exist in a world where superheroes live and work amongst us, but we can relate to the main character of “Origin Story” and her decision not to tell her superhero lover about their child, and to the jealous and lonely teenage girl who pines for her best friend’s life-size boyfriend doll in “The New Boyfriend.” And anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will recognize the comfort and strain that encompasses the jaded couple at the center of “I Can See Right Through You,” even if their shared fame and secret are utterly alien.
A few of the stories in Get In Trouble feel more like impressions than solid tales, a little lost in their own peculiarity and not quite sticking a satisfying landing. But the stories that succeed (and that’s most of them) embed themselves so deeply that you may never view the world in quite the same way ever again. And that’s the real magic of Kelly Link’s storytelling.
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