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It was lovely Camilla Send a noteboard - 02/04/2011 11:20:10 PM
Pretty Monsters brings together 9 of Kelly Link's stories into a collection aimed at young adults. The stories are wryly funny, spine-chilling and occasionally outright frightening (if I'd read "Monster" at night I'm fairly certain I'd have had nightmares). Perhaps most importantly for such surreal stories, the characters are real, easy to relate to. They're all teenagers and you can feel their awkwardness, the strange way they look at the world, and their agonies as they begin to make their own way in the world. But this world, as the inside covers tells us, is filled with such things as: shapeshifters, aliens, pirates, a boy named Onion, a handbag with a village in it, and possibly carnivorous sofas.

It does feel like Borges for beginners. Mixed with some Gaiman and Dunsany at times. None of them really scared me, but I took great care not to read them directly before bedtime.

Of the 9 stories included in the collection only one - "Pretty Monsters" - is new, but they work together beautifully so reading the two I'd read before (Magic for Beginners and The Faery Handbag) felt new. I think my favourite was "Monster", but each and every one has something special about it. "The Specialist's Hat" is particularly impressive with its atmospheric creepiness and completely disturbing babysitter. The title story uses an innovative structure to tell a multi-layered (and beautifully dark) story about werewolves.

"The Specialist's Hat" was the scariest, I thought. It made me think of Lovecraft. The Specialist is so ... other. And the way it combines that with the fake familiarity ... *shudder*
That one scared me. "Monster" would have scared me if I had read it somewhere else. I preferred the less scary ones. And my favourites were the ones that had fun with levels of fiction. Mainly "Magic for Beginners", but I liked "Prety Monsters" as well (although that one was a little obvious -- and is it a commentary on Twilight in any way?).

And I really, really liked "Wizards of Perfil" and "The Constable of Abal". Those were the ones that reminded me of Dunsany.

The book itself is beautiful: when I opened the parcel I was delighted. It feels lovely to hold, is a startling black and bright yellow, and has soft touchy thingies on the cover. It definitely added to the experience of reading the stories and looks gorgeous on my bookshelf.

Canongate do make lovely books.
structured procrastinator
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Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link: a fabulous collection of bewitching tales - 14/10/2009 12:10:08 AM 8262 Views
See, I want to read that - 14/10/2009 08:59:01 AM 1489 Views
You're more than welcome to do so. I'll check with Tim first, though. - 14/10/2009 11:47:16 AM 1652 Views
Oh my. - 14/10/2009 10:41:39 AM 1495 Views
Quite. - 14/10/2009 11:47:48 AM 1460 Views
Sounds awesome. - 14/10/2009 06:32:07 PM 1463 Views
Hmm. - 14/10/2009 06:40:04 PM 1482 Views
*dutifully comments and participates* - 15/10/2009 04:30:03 AM 1492 Views
Good woman. - 15/10/2009 08:37:46 AM 1600 Views
I think she is spying on me. - 28/10/2009 09:17:32 PM 1439 Views
It was lovely - 02/04/2011 11:20:10 PM 1491 Views

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