Dead Girls and Other Stories

Emily Geminder. Dzanc (PGW, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-945814-33-4
In her debut collection, Geminder covers a range of subjects and injects them with her own brand of liveliness and creativity. “Coming To” uses dictionary definitions to both frame and splinter a narrative about a reporter’s unsettling experiences in Cambodia, including a rash of unexplained fainting episodes. The title story, written in the second person, is structured around a four-day anatomy workshop. Abundant with gallows humor, the workshop serves as a backdrop to a self-examination by one of the participants. The straightforward and affecting “Houses” tracks the rough existence of a homeless family. In “Nausicaa,” the narrator addresses a departed friend, recounting their experiences together through the lens of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The eerie and memorable “Edie,” the collection’s best story, has a fair number of references to death as well, but it’s left to the reader to decide how literally they are to be taken. At the core of the story is a tight friendship between the authoritative but enigmatic title character and narrator Ruthie, who first meets her in kindergarten. Through a child’s eyes, friendship, the rocky road to adolescence, and the dangers of the modern world are compellingly treated. Geminder’s stories are refreshing, surprising, and evocative. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
Open Ebook - 978-1-945814-56-3
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