Salt Slow

Julia Armfield. Flatiron, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-22477-4
In Armfield’s unsettling, uncanny, and utterly delightful debut, wolves, mythological monsters, and seemingly ordinary girls and women abound. In “Formerly Feral,” a girl’s neighbor from across the street adopts a wolf and names her Helen. When the girl’s parents divorce, her father remarries the neighbor and she gains a new stepsister in Helen, and the two develop a deep bond. In “Stop Your Women’s Ears with Wax,” Mona is on tour supporting a popular girl band making music that inspires violent desires in their young female fans. Black feathers in their dressing room hint at their more sinister true identity. In “Granite,” a woman on the cusp of 30 finds a lover—her first—whose body is slowly turning to stone as she looks at him. The best story in the collection is the most conceptually ambitious: “The Great Awake,” in which a person’s ability to sleep is anthropomorphized, becoming a separate shadow entity. Armfield occasionally deploys startling, stunning turns of phrase: “Two a.m., the dark throat of summer.” Razor-sharp, stylish, and imaginative, Armfield’s collection is a dazzling introduction to a talented writer. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/08/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Fiction
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