Other Places

Karen Heuler. Aqueduct, $12 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-61976-115-5
Prolific fantasy and horror writer Heuler continues defying convention and categorization in her latest collection of stories. The first tale, “The Rising Up,” wherein a young woman unexpectedly realizes she has a penis while engaging in dream combat, sets the stage for the weirdness to come. There is fairy tale opulence in “Twelve Sisters, Twelve Sisters, Ten,” in which a dozen sisters spend their evenings dancing in an underwater house. “The Apartments,” in which a woman visits her old haunts and discovers some unsettling personal information, is as much a stroll down memory lane as it is a meditation on narrative. Each story is as inventive as the last. Heuler’s prose illuminates the strangeness of both her characters and her settings. Establishing elaborate themes and morals is no easy feat in such short narrative arcs, but Heuler does it admirably, quickly laying the groundwork for her myriad of worlds, cultures, and travelers. There is no doubt as to Heuler’s creativity, but some of the stories have less pull than others, though the collection as a whole does not feel unbalanced. Exploring difficult questions with imaginative prose, Heuler leaves readers with much food for thought. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016
Genre: Fiction
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