Big Bad

Whitney Collins. Sarabande, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-946448-72-9
Collins (The Hamster Won’t Die) lays on the verve and wit across the 13 stories in this crisp collection. In “Good Guys,” college student Teddy is troubled by his own inexplicable dislike and merciless ridicule of gentle fellow student Leonard. Young Mabel, the protagonist of “Daddy-O,” can’t stand the optimism of her impossibly cheery father. Spencer walks away from his wife and children in “Three Couches” because he feels numb toward his marriage, and his life. The barrage of metaphors feels deliciously apt rather than judgmental, and though Collins trafficks in familiar tropes throughout the collection, she makes them distinctive by crafting varying worlds. In “Bjorn,” Bianca develops a strange attachment to a disfiguring cyst, even after it’s removed. Seven-year-old Frankie finds solace in “The Nest” with her flamboyant uncle while her infant twin brothers struggle in the ICU, having been delivered 60 days early, “like a pair of feeble insects that doctors promptly secured under glass for observation both scientific and sacred.” “Sunday” mixes Grand Guignol with outrageous humor; the protagonist, Paul Lemmon, has lost his arms in a bologna cutting machine. At times, the stories’ omniscient narration leaves the characters little room to breathe, but the zingy one-liners help make up for it. Collins exhibits a contagious appreciation for the world’s strange horrors, big and small. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/06/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-946448-73-6
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