Monday, August 2, 2010

BR: Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link

Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link.

I really don’t know what to say.

What you need to know: Pretty Monsters is a collection of short stories. Really, really funky short stories.

What I can’t figure out is: where they made to not make sense on purpose, and that’s why everyone calls them “dazzling” and “genius”? Or am I really stupid and just can’t figure them out?
It’s one of those books that, understanding it or not, you put down when it’s finished, stare blankly at nothing for a moment, then ask, “Where did that COME from?”

I still can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. I think I hated it. But I never stopped reading it. It took me almost a week, but I kept coming back. And that’s something, isn’t it? I guess I just wanted to keep reading to see if it was going to eventually make sense, if I was going to understand all the raving reviews, or if it was going to be absolute chaos to the absolute end. Whether any of it makes sense or not (some made more sense than others, and some lacked more sense than others), it was absolute chaos.

I picked it up because the cover is pretty and I liked the design. I kept holding it because “Flat-out genius;” “dazzling;” and “Intoxicating” were on the front cover. I flipped it over because I wanted to know what the story was about. I opened it because the back only had more reviews, and I opened it to find even MORE dazzling reviews, only designed to also be very pretty and unusual. I bought the book because the inside front cover says

A phone booth in Las Vegas


Unhelpful wizards

Possibly carnivorous sofas

A handbag with a village inside of it

Tennessee Fainting Goats

Dueling librarians

A statue of George Washington

A boy named Onion


An undead babysitter

A nationally raked soccer player

Evil Cinderella


An unexpected campfire guest."
And, again, it was pretty, in a silly and creepy way.

These stories were just so… strange. Not just because the subject matter was strange, because it was, but because they don’t have much of a point, and they don’t really end, they just stop, and… they are just strange. Very, very strange.

Some of the ideas were really cool. I really liked the TV show, “the Librarian” even though I can’t decide if it was real or not, and what the heck Jeremy and his friends had anything to do with it in “Magic for Beginners.” I liked Gloria, the dead girl that was unburied and refused to stay in her grave and made a new life for herself. I liked how Onion and Halsa could project themselves in “The Wizards of Perfil.” The “Faery Handbag” overall was awesome. I liked the camp-lore of “Monster.” “The Surfer” was interesting and probably the least weird, with the hippies all waiting in quarantine for the aliens to come back while Dorn worried about becoming a soccer star. “The Constable of Abal” was pretty sweet, and I especially liked how Zilla and Ozma kept ghost on ribbons and toted them around with them. And the “Cinderella Game” just didn’t tickle me. Neither did “The Specialist Hat.” But “Pretty Monsters;” I didn’t understand why it was a three-part story. Just because?

I think that is how to best explain away this book’s existence: JUST BECAUSE LINK COULD.

And that is that.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds very interesting, I've never heard of it but now I'm curious about it. I really like the cover. Love your review! =)