Burning Girls and Other Stories

Veronica Schanoes. Tor.com, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-78150-5
Schanoes reinterprets and unpacks old, familiar tales in this powerful debut collection of 13 speculative stories. The pieces vary in subgenre, including fabulism, historical fantasy, and surrealism, but all are united by common threads of revolution, female power, revenge, and trauma both historical and personal. “The Revenant,” told with a mild, distant tone that belies its deadly serious subject matter, reimagines the urban legend of Bloody Mary. In “Phosphorus,” a woman dying of “phossy jaw” joins a factory girls’ strike. The Shirley Jackson Award–winning title novella is the standout, following Deborah, a Jewish witch and healer, as she flees anti-Semitic violence in 19th-century Poland while being pursued by a jealous demon. Dark pacts, willful daughters, and young punks in fishnets abound, and the collection suffers somewhat from the limited range of perspectives, with a few of the pieces striking similar notes. But at their best, these stories are rousing, political, and visceral, even gut-churning. Fans of Kirsty Logan, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, or Catherynne M. Valente will find much to enjoy. Agent: Jennifer Udden, New Leaf Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 09/21/2020
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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