cover image La Belle Fleur Sauvage

La Belle Fleur Sauvage

Caitlín R. Kiernan. Dark Regions, $20 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-62641-287-3

Kiernan (Black Helicopters) turns her virtuosic prose toward disaster, myth, and survival in this standalone postapocalyptic novella. Twenty-six years after murderous parasites invaded fertile women’s wombs and laid the world waste, 11 linked vignettes chart a New York wracked with oracles and statistical prophets, where hysterectomies are mandated and Carnival parades for the saint of miscarriage throw “carriers of contagion” and “would-be breeders” into the sea. Amid the ruins, the protagonists grapple with the past and learn to survive what remains. Kiernan peels the sense of sideshow from such tropes as scattered survivors’ tribes to produce a catalogue of coping mechanisms for disaster—a paean to the act of listening, kindness in the face of calamity, and catharsis—all in paragraphs stretched like a street preacher’s dizzying patter. Short, finely wrought, and vital, this is Meg Elison or Emily St. John Mandel filtered through phantasmagoria. (Oct.)