Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Description:  Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz,superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

I’d been wanting to read Kelly Link for a long time because of all the good things I had heard about her. The collection of stories in Get in Trouble confirms her reputation as one of the best short-story writers working today.

Link’s work defies easy pigeonholing. It straddles genres and time periods. What it does is create an immediate sense of place and of mood.  Always slightly surreal and with a sense of foreboding. You quickly identify with her characters, even if you are never sure if you can trust them. She draws you in and pulls you along with beautiful prose and twists that you can’t quite see coming, even if you know something is coming.

Link’s characters remain grounded and real, no matter how bizarre the situation they find themselves in. You can find something of yourself in her characters, which at times is truly frightening. Her settings are fully realized no matter how far from our reality they stray.  

The nine stories in Get in Trouble criss-cross the world in setting, and even venture into outer space. Each of them feels real. These are stories to be experienced as much as read. Kelly Link deserves all her accolades. If you haven’t read her before, you are in for a treat. This is a great collection of short stories.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.

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