Kelly Link is one of today’s most beloved short story writers—those who have praised her work include Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, (who called her “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction”), Daniel Mendelsohn, Jennifer Weiner, Emma Straub, Rob Delaney, and Daniel Pink to give you a random sampling. Lev Grossman wrote in Time about her past work, “Link’s stories . . . play in a place few writers go, a netherworld between literature and fantasy, Alice Munro and J. K. Rowling, and Link finds truths there that most authors wouldn’t dare touch.”
GET IN TROUBLE is Link’s eagerly awaited first collection in a decade for adult readers and includes an extraordinary never-before-published story, “The Lesson.” A former independent bookseller, Link and her husband co-founded Small Beer Press, a renowned independent publisher based in Northampton, Massachusetts, where they publish writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler. After receiving early rejection letters from traditional publishers, she chose to publish her first two collections—Stranger Things Happen (2001) and Magic for Beginners (2005) herself. The result? A fervent, dedicated readership and eventual appearances on multiple “Best of the Decade” lists.
GET IN TROUBLE highlights the exceptional stories Link has published in literary magazines and anthologies in the ten years since Magic for Beginners was published. In “The Summer People,” a young girl serves as the sole caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit a nearby cottage. In “Origin Story,” two old friends reconnect in a Land of Oz theme park after time and superpowers have driven them apart. In a twisted sketch of teenage love, “The New Boyfriend” explores what happens when a 16-year-old girl falls in love with a lifelike human doll. “The Lesson,” which tells the story of a couple away on a trip when a surrogate gives birth to their son at twenty-four weeks, is partially inspired by the premature birth of Link’s own daughter in 2009. Link’s daughter weighed a pound and a half, spent her first year in the hospital, and needed a feeding tube for the first three years of her life. What made its way from Link’s life into the story are a few startling details—a spider she saw crawling along the inside wall of an incubator, the extraordinary fact that her husband’s wedding ring fit over their daughter’s wrist, and the feelings of dread and joy they felt in the first 18 months of her life. In “The Lesson,” the main character’s fear of wishing for anything in such a stark, life and death scenario—and also being afraid of making the wrong wish—was also Link’s fear. The situations in Link’s stories are at first glance fantastical, but the emotional insights are piercing and the characters vividly real. The end result is less “magical realism” than it is magical storytelling in its most convincing and addictive form. Funny, uncanny, always deeply moving, GET IN TROUBLE demonstrates a writer of wondrous gifts operating at the height of her powers.
About the Author: KELLY LINK is the author of the collections Get in Trouble, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. She and Gavin J. Grant have co-edited a number of anthologies, including multiple volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and, for young adults, Monstrous Affections. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press. Her short stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Link was born in Miami, Florida. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts.