We Are Still Here

Emily Koon. Conium, $16 trade paper (237p) ISBN 978-1-942387-14-5
Monsters, ghosts, and lost souls remind readers that “no one wants to hear a story about a decent person” in Koon’s fine debut collection. In the title story, honeymooners happen upon long-forgotten and decaying amusement park tourists who are ambivalent toward their discoverers, having long since given up on rescue. Many stories push the limits of a seemingly realistic world, such as “United Postal Service,” in which a delivery man decides to move into the narrator’s apartment, permanently and uninvited; and “Myrtle,” in which the narrator befriends an ogre under a bridge and discovers the pair to be perfectly suited (which brings questions about the narrator's fitness for the normal world). Most of the 13 stories are haunting and clever, such as Koon’s wry critique of capitalism in “The People Who Live in the Sears.” The standout is the novella “Dark Paradise,” an outstanding weaving of potential paths that brought Lizzie Borden to the point of murder, told in second person. Throughout, Koon’s elegant sentences bring humor to what could otherwise be morbid tales. Offering up a mixture a flash fiction and disarming character portraits, Koon delivers a beguiling, fresh collection. (July)
Reviewed on : 07/11/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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