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Incendiary Girls: Stories Paperback – April 8, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Harvest (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544300467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544300460
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Eleven appealingly strange studies of bodies in crisis…an effective and surprising collection.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Scheer is at her best when she sneaks in the fantastical elements, scattering bizarre episodes scattered in everyday settings and using these elements fantastical to reveal her characters' emotional states.” —Publishers Weekly

“Kodi Scheer is a talented storyteller with a gift for writing untraditionally about the fragile nature of life. The stories in her debut collection, Incendiary Girls, are shocking, heartbreaking, humorous, and delicate. None of them is easily forgotten.” —Bookslut

“Scheer’s stories are astonishing and unforgettable. Incendiary Girls is the work of a craftswoman and a visionary and simply one of the best storytellers I've encountered in a long time.” —Laura Kasischke, author of The Raising and The Life Before Her Eyes

“These are stories about the body, dismembered by science or war, but also about the disembodied, the spirit, the self, that mysterious sum (or, as in many of the stories here, absence) that is greater than our parts. Scheer’s brand of magical realism—a cool grotesquerie—is the perfect vehicle for this mix of the morbid and the ineffable, raw emotion and other-worldly yearning. This is a beautiful, beguiling...and slyly unsettling collection.” —Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl

“A fresh take on the vagaries of the human body and the human spirit. Scheer spins inventive tales, laced with a dose of magic.” —Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD; author of What Doctors Feel; editor-in-chief, Bellevue Literary Review

“Taken together, these 11 stories encourage you to marvel at human resilience in both its physical and spiritual forms. You’ll likely marvel at Scheer’s imagination as well.” —LA Review of Books

About the Author

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service.

Customer Reviews

A great book, filled with many unqiue stories that will really make you think.
Arianna
Exploring the potential and limitations of human experience, these short stories are fearless and inventive, willing to take risks in with subject matter and story.
Muriel S.
Many of the stories have the thread of medicine running through them as well as some magical or fantastical elements.
Laura Booksnob

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on April 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This excellent collection of short stories by debut author Kodi Scheer is one of the most memorable books I've read in a long time. Though the tales concern themselves with many different types of people--overworked medical students, young parents, lovers from different backgrounds, transplant patients, pageant hopefuls, military wives--they are drawn together by sharply observed moments of pathos and humor. Scheer's protagonists face real and familiar problems but do so through the lens of the fantastic: one woman, afraid she is losing her elderly mother, is haunted by a cadaver she is dissecting in class. Another discovers that her partner has become a camel.

This collection explores the fears and wonders of our inner lives by presenting us with conflicts of the physical body, and does so in such fresh and unexpected language that I found myself unable to put the book down. The stories are humane without falling into easy sentiment, and because of this complexity (as well as the fact that the author spends no time indulging in wasted words) the emotional highs and lows of each work ring true. I highly recommend this collection to other readers and look forward to Scheer's next publication.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laura Booksnob on April 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Incendiary Girls is a collection of short stories that are unforgettable and non-traditional. Many of the stories have the thread of medicine running through them as well as some magical or fantastical elements. Sometimes the stories are disturbing yet for every story I was intrigued and wanted to find out where the author was leading me and how the story would end.

My favorite story is the title story because it is based in Turkey during the Armenian genocide. When a Camel Breaks Your Heart is odd and funny and was super entertaining. I also really liked the story Gross Anatomy. There are eleven beautiful, unsettling, unique and strange stories in this collection. Give yourself permission to laugh at the oddities and imagine the absurd and just go with it.

I love how the cover is represented in stark black and white and how it reflects the stories inside. Medicine, illness, sickness is so often portrayed in black and white circumstances. Either your sick or your not sick but humans and their bodies are anything but ordinary and Scheer explores the human body with a little bit of wonder and a lot of intensity.

I love short stories and try to read at least one a week. With Incendiary Girls, I read one a day. I couldn't stop. Scheer does an excellent job juxtaposing reality with fantasy and having her patients (I mean stories) exhibit fundamental psychological symptoms of the creative variety. She is a great storyteller.

One word: Unforgettable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marie Michaels on April 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Like Scheherazade spinning tales in "One Thousand and One Nights", Scheer expertly weaves tales about magic in the most unexpected places. A woman's boyfriend is turned into a camel. The cadaver a medical student is dissecting starts to haunt her. The anxious wife of a overseas soldier starts to find his body parts around the house. A woman suspects her mother has been reincarnated as a horse. Like fairytales that have gone topsy-turvey, the magical transformations that take place in "Incendiary Girls" reveal the darkest fears and desires of the human heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HapaGirl on May 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
These stories run the gamut in terms of mood, from darkly humorous ("Miss Universe") to nostalgic, tinged with regret ("Gross Anatomy"), and everything in between. The ease with which Scheer moves me, as reader, from one emotional space to another, how naturally she brings me to her characters, brings her characters to me, brings her characters back to their own selves are all signs that I'm in a masterful writer's hands. I found especially poignant the ways we glimpse humanity, the line between living and being alive, presented in this collection. Several stories touch upon the body, the medical, ideas of healing-- both physical and emotional. And on top of all this plentitude, is a clean style reminiscent of my two favorite Amy/Aimee-s: Amy Hempel and Aimee Bender.

If you're wondering what new, cool, surprising things are happening in the short story genre, this is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Greg on April 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Throughout the eleven stories in this remarkable debut collection, Kodi Scheer uses fantastical elements to reveal the uncanny heart that beats beneath the surface of everyday life. The characters in these stories possess bodies every bit as mutable and magical, as prone to metamorphoses, as the bodies of characters in fairy tales. Through such transformations, Scheer deftly externalizes the strange biological tugs of motherhood and daughterhood, the parallels between sicknesses of the body and crises of faith, and the powers of love and lust, hope and fear, grief and joy.

What’s more, Scheer does all this with an admirable lightness of touch. Her sly comic affect and deft tonal counterpointing—the writing here swings gracefully from lightness to darkness and back again—makes each of these stories a pleasure to read. Scheer writes like an heir to Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, and Joyce Carol Oates, and Incendiary Girls would fit right in on any bookshelf that also includes works by Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, or George Saunders. Highly recommended.
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More About the Author

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. As a recent fellow of the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, she traveled to Bulgaria to engage with an international community of writers, translators, and readers. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review. She also serves as writer-in-residence for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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