The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories

Caitlin R. Kiernan, Author
Caitlín R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $40 (280p) ISBN 978-1-59606-586-4
Reviewed on: 08/12/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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In these 13 previously published stories, Kiernan (The Drowning Girl) deftly deconstructs boundaries: between genres, between worlds, between mundane and entirely alien existences. Well-known tales are reshaped in Kiernan’s distinct style—Beowulf in “The Sea Troll’s Daughter,” King Kong in “The Ape’s Wife”—while characters as familiar as an artist struggling with a painting, in “Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash,” or a science writer researching an article, in “One Tree Hill (The World as Cataclysm),” are plucked from the ordinary and set down in the uncanny. Standout expeditions include “Galápagos,” featuring a woman trying to record and come to terms with what she saw on an interplanetary journey; “As Red as Red,” an unsettling Rhode Island interlude; and the title story, in which Ann Darrow is “lost in All-At-Once time” and the possible lives she might have led. These pieces are diverse, but isolation is a thread woven through almost all of them: What might we sense or experience when we are entirely, completely alone? What truths might we admit? Those interested in exploring those questions, or in transcending genre and other boundaries, will enjoy this collection. (Nov.)
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