Black Light

Kimberly King Parsons. Vintage, $15 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-56350-1
Parsons’s debut crackles with the frenetic energy of the women who stalk its pages. In opening story “Guts,” Sheila has just started dating “almost-doctor” Tim, whose particular brand of condescending masculine practicality destabilizes her already-erratic lifestyle. In “Foxes,” a recently divorced mother recounts her courtship and marriage to her ex-husband, whom she calls “the fool,” as she listens to her young daughter spin a story featuring knights and inky enemies, and the two stories begin to intertwine and mimic the cadences of each other. “Foxes” kicks off a dazzling run of stories, including “The Soft No,” in which a pair of siblings must navigate neighborhood politics as well as their unpredictable mother, to “We Don’t Come Natural to It,” in which two women’s pursuit of beauty becomes a vortex of self-inflicted violence, control, and mistrust. In the title story, a young woman watches as her former lover evolves into someone she realizes she never knew, while she must navigate the breakup in a way that doesn’t out her sexuality. Parsons’s characters are sharp and uncannily observed, bound up in elastic and electrifying prose. This is a first-rate debut. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/21/2019
Release date: 08/13/2019
Genre: Fiction
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