Sparks (The Unfinished World) impresses with her exceptional collection of wry, feminist stories. “A Place for Hiding Precious Things” is an incendiary retelling of the fairy tale “Donkeyskin” that features a young princess’s escape into contemporary Manhattan from her father’s incestuous desires. A high school girl with a pitch-perfect teen voice lives with her dysfunctional family in a trailer park in “Everyone’s a Winner in Meadow Park” and is bored with the “weird pioneer girl” that haunts her until the ghost proves herself useful with homework and warding off sexual advances. Climate change and societal collapse set the stage for a woman’s ex-husband’s transformation into a religious despot who builds a giant tower in “We Destroy the Moon.” Some stories smuggle incredible emotional impact into surprisingly few pages, including the haunting, unexplained severing of a friendship in “Mildly Unhappy with Moments of Joy” and a queen who attempts to outrace a rapidly approaching future through a strange form of time-travel in “Is the Future a Nice Place for Girls.” The time management–obsessed father in “The Eyes of Saint Lucy” foists his mistress’s baby on his wife and daughter, leading to a chilling, macabre twist. Sparks’s sardonic wit never distracts from her polished dismantling of everyday and extraordinary abuses. Readers will love this remarkable, deliciously caustic collection. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/28/2019 Release date: 02/11/2020 Genre: Fiction
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