cover image Others of My Kind

Others of My Kind

James Sallis. Bloomsbury, $24 (128p) ISBN 978-1-62040-209-2

Sallis (The Killer Is Dying) has always been the master of doing more with less, as he demonstrates once again with this startling experimental novella. When Emily Smith was eight years old, she was abducted and suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of her male captor, who kept her in a box under his bed for two years. The girl finally escaped, living for 18 months in a shopping mall, eventually becoming a ward of the courts. Twenty-five years later, Emily has become “Jenny Rowan,” a talented video editor for a Washington, D.C., news station. Her craft is an apt metaphor for the life that she’s improvised. Fiercely independent and self-taught, Rowan refuses to see herself as a victim. When a police detective approaches her to help a young abductee, Rowan at first demurs, but she ends up giving the girl, Cheryl, a place to stay. We witness Rowan cobble together her own community, helping a family of squatters who live next door and even reaching out to the U.S. president, whose son has recently been kidnapped. The theme of working with “what you have left,” a constant in Sallis’s world, permeates every sentence of this slim, insightful work. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary Agency. (Sept.)