Author: Kelly Link
Pretty Monsters: Stories is a collection of nine short and very strange stories by Kelly Link. The tales are as diverse as they are odd. In one story you read about a boy who made the unfortunate error of burying his poetry with his dead girlfriend, but when he seeks to retrieve it, he discovers he’s dug up the wrong grave. Another story tells of a girl who keeps a ghost in her pocket, though sometimes she’s a boy, and another about the imminent return of aliens. In a nutshell the book is a collection of mad stories that take you on an adventure with no real end.
“Wizards are sly, greedy, absentminded, obsessed with stars and bugs, parsimonious, frivolous, invisible, tyrannous, untrustworthy, secretive, inquisitive, meddlesome, long-lived, dangerous, useless, and have far too good an opinion of themselves. Kings go mad, the land is blighted, children starve or get sick or die spitted on the pointy end of a pike, and it’s all beneath the notice of the wizards of Perfil. The wizards of Perfl don’t fight wars.”
If I had to summarize these tales in words, they’d be: humorous, ridiculous, and peculiar. They are almost dream-like in their peculiarity. But the dreams are random and bizarre and sometimes very charming. Link is at her best when the stories are set in fantastical times with wizards and witches and ghosts. Here her whimsical tone enlivens the story and adds a pinch of magic. I wasn’t as impressed with some of her stories because they were at times so strange, I couldn’t quite get a grasp on them.
Overall, Pretty Monsters: Stories was enjoyable and even though it felt like I was Alice falling through the rabbit hole, the thrill that comes when your stomach drops made it worth it.