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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fantasy Review: The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories by A.C. Wise

Advertised as a collection of the fantastical, the weird, the queer and the poignant, The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories is all those things and more. A.C. Wise weaves a variety of styles, genres, and sexualities through her tales, foregoing the gleeful camp of The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again in favor of a darker, more contemplative faery-tale feel. It took a few stories for the collection to take hold of my imagination, but the writing is so polished, so crisp, and so elegant, that it's easy to be patient.

It was with The Pornographer's Assistant that Wise got my imagination firing, and with For The Removal of Unwanted Guests that she hooked me. As witchcraft fables go, the story, the dialogue, and the final twist are all perfect. A Mouse Ran Up The Clock takes the collection down a darker path, a clockwork tale of politics, ethics, and humanity.

Sisters of the Blessed Diving Order of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew and The Kissing Booth Girl were both beautifully weird stories, just on the edge of unreality, tied together with human thoughts and emotions.

The Last Survivor of the Great Sexbot Revolution was probably one of my favorites in the collection, a tale that's as much about the story as the telling. The element of uncertainty . . . of unreliability . . . is what makes the story so intriguing. We don't know the truth of the story or the history, and while I usually find such literary tricks tiresome, it worked here.

The language of The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories is as powerful as its imagery, a narrative style that extends across the genres, linking them together into a fluid whole.

Paperback, 254 pages
Published October 2016 by Lethe Press

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the author in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. I want it. I don't usually do short story collections by one author but everything about this one tells me it is different.

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