cover image Cosmogony: Stories

Cosmogony: Stories

Lucy Ives. Soft Skull, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-59376-599-6

Ives (Loudermilk) grapples with information overload while exploring her characters’ deeply personal interiority in this inventive collection. Here, Mallarmé meets Craigslist, as a young translator takes a job writing the diaries of erotic online models in “A Throw of the Dice,” a reference to the symbolist poet’s magnum opus. In “Recognition of This World Is Not the Invention of It,” a retreat for coworkers leads to a game of Murder, and then takes on additional layers of darkness as the narrator reflects on her fraught relationship with her mother and contemplates suicide. The narrator of the title story considers Gottfried Leibniz’s theory of monads (the building blocks of the universe) while semi-dating an angel who works for an IT company. The fascinating, dialogue-heavy “Scary Sites” surfs between many topics, from Saturday Night Live to violence in literature, to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s “Perfect Smoky Eye.” The structurally ingenious “Guy” takes the form of a casual stroll through Wikipedia’s hodgepodge of entries on Guy Fawkes and the Napoleonic Wars before settling into a startlingly intimate portrait of an affair. Through juxtaposition and collage, these stories illuminate the trickier fringes of life right now. Agent: Chris Clemans, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Mar.)