Get in Trouble
FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A bewitching story collection from a writer hailed as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” (Michael Chabon) and “a national treasure” (Neil Gaiman).
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BookPage • BuzzFeed • Chicago Tribune • Kirkus Reviews • NPR • San Francisco Chronicle • Slate • Time • Toronto Star • The Washington Post
Kelly 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.
Praise for Get in Trouble
“Ridiculously brilliant . . . These stories make you laugh while staring into the void.”—The Boston Globe
“When it comes to literary magic, Link is the real deal: clever, surprising, affecting, fluid and funny.”—San Francisco Chronicle
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author Kelly Link has established a singularly captivating voice with her genre-bending mix of dark magical realism. Get in Trouble continues the tradition with stories that follow a dreamlike logic—a bit like Haruki Murakami, if Murakami wrote about washed-up heartthrobs and teens with mechanical boyfriends. There are superheroes with the power to guess the sell-by date on cans of tuna, a storehouse filled with slumbering humans, a woman with two shadows—Link’s vivid landscape blossoms with the weird. Get in Trouble is both unnerving and disorienting, but each story will haunt and amaze you.
These nine stories may begin in familiar territory a birthday party, a theme park, a bar, a spaceship but they quickly draw readers into an imaginative, disturbingly ominous world of realistic fantasy and unreal reality. Like Kafka hosting Saturday Night Live, Link mixes humor with existential dread. The first story, entitled "The Summer People," in homage to Shirley Jackson, follows an Appalachian schoolgirl, abandoned by her moonshiner father, as she looks after a summer house occupied by mysterious beings. "I Can See Right Through You" features friends who, in their youth, were movie stars; now in middle age, she is the hostess and he is the guest star of a television show about hunting ghosts at a Florida nudist colony. "Origin Story" takes place in a deserted Land of Oz theme park; "Secret Identity" is set at a hotel where dentists and superheroes attend simultaneous conferences. Only in a Link story would you encounter Mann Man, a superhero with the powers of Thomas Mann, or visit a world with pools overrun by Disney mermaids. Details a bruise-green sky, a Beretta dotted with Hello Kitty stickers bring the unimaginable to unnerving life. Each carefully crafted tale forms its own pocket universe, at once ordinary (a teenage girl adores and resents her BFF) and bizarre (...therefore she tries to steal the BFF's robot vampire boyfriend doll). Link's characters, driven by yearning and obsession, not only get in trouble but seek trouble out to spectacular effect.
Modern Fairy Tales That Are Never What You Expect!
This is the third volume of Kelly Link's short stories that I have read, and they certainly don't disappoint. They are always surprising, just when you think you have them figured out, they go off in an unexpected direction. These stories are themed around the character getting into some sort of trouble, thus the name of the collection. Usually, the trouble is of their own making, sometimes it unexpectedly finds them. Poor decisions are usually involved, or maybe they are good decisions? It all depends on how the reader views the situation. These sometimes are dreamlike fantasies. Sometimes the stories seem grounded in a gritty reality, but it isn't the reality you are familiar with.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is its cover. With so many images from the stories that could have been used, why they selected the ugly graffiti-like text they did is beyond me.
I didn’t like this book at all. I was expecting more. The stories are weird and I’m not sure where the character is taking me. There are unusual grammatical errors that I’m not sure are on purpose because the story doesn’t warrant its use. I like short stories that made me feel something significant at the end, or that the character/s provided some meaningful insight. I didn’t get that with these stories. I had to reread stories to see if I missed the meaning, but got nothing and only irritation.
Gets gimmicky fast
I truly enjoyed 3 or 4 of the 8 or 9 stories. The author’s schtick gets pretty tiring pretty quickly though. At first you think it’s great, very novel, but by the end you’ve got a bead on what she’s doing, and it’s not nearly as impressive, just a bunch of tossed-off fantasy ideas that junk up the story.