cover image Big Girl

Big Girl

Meg Elison. PM, $14 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-62963-783-9

Philip K. Dick Award–winner Elison (The Book of Flora) refracts fatphobia through a dystopian lens in this powerful but repetitive collection of stories and essays about body image. The unflinchingly brutal “Such People in It,” which offers a glimpse into a future poverty-ridden and fundamentalist America in which human bodies and relationships are under strictly regimented control, and the poignant “The Pill,” about the complicated relationship between a weight loss–obsessed mother and her daughter, are both original to this collection. The impact of “The Pill” is lessened slightly by the personal essay “Guts,” which comes later in the collection and retreads the same material from a nonfictional perspective. Weaker entries show notably less polish: the biting satire of the title story is delivered with far too heavy a hand, and though the magical realist “El Hugé” ends with a bang, it spends too little time getting there. Rounding out the collection is “Sprawling into the Unknown,” a whimsical and informative interview with Elison about her life and writing process. Elison’s devoted readers and anyone with a love of Atwoodian dystopias should take note. (June)