Well, sometimes it’s a bar filled with men raised by wolves. Sometimes it’s a space ship. A warehouse full of mysterious sleeping people. A magical house full of “summer people”. A haunted house on a space ship. A lake where a few dozen nudists disappeared in the seventies. The penthouse party at a hotel full of dentists and super heroes. The crumbling remains of a Wizard of Oz theme park. A pocket universe that opened above Florida.
Kelly Link writes things that are fantastic and familiar. She writes things that satisfy and frustrate. Everything you want is here, but nothing that you want is here. We aren’t even touching on what you need.
What you deserve and what you can stand aren’t necessarily the same thing
She is also the queen of excellent character names. She’s the queen of the quiet and secret things that lurk just out of your sight. She’s the queen of the things that move when you turn out the light, but they disappear as soon as you look- and you aren’t mad.
Her chest feels very tight, as if she’s suddenly full of poison. You have to keep it all inside. Like throwing yourself on a bomb to save everyone else. Except you’re the bomb.
Link names the unnameable otherness of being a teenager girl; the pent up rage and love and hope and hate all roiling inside of you when a friend succeeds, loses, goes away, or becomes permanent. Her teenagers don’t remain young forever though; they meet men online, they have babies, they accidentally form twins from their double shadows, and they star in vampire movies.
Her stories activate an ache deep in your chest that you might have forgotten about; an ache that sometimes you don’t feel, but never really go away.