cover image Maria, Maria: & Other Stories

Maria, Maria: & Other Stories

Marytza K. Rubio. Liveright, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-324-09054-0

Mysticism and imagination run wild in Rubio’s debut collection, which showcases glittering prose and a fearless approach to form and imagery. Many of these 10 tales defy categorization and blur genre boundaries. A duo searches the multiverse to find meaning in senseless death in “Carlos Across Space and Time.” “Brujería for Beginners” sees a magical teacher attempting to steer an unruly class. Generations of Marias work to make sense of their legacies and supernatural abilities within a dystopic jungle in “Maria, Maria.” Strongest are “Tijuca,” which captures the essence of grief as a widow cares for her husband’s remains, and “Burial,” which gives loneliness teeth as a young girl resurrects a saber-toothed tiger. Some of the more experimental works falter, however; both “Paint by Numbers” and “Art Show” privilege style over substance or clarity. Still, Rubio’s talent is evident, and there’s such a range of tones and genres on offer that any reader will find at least something to enjoy. Agent: Monica Odom, Odom Media Management. (Apr.)