From Publishers Weekly
Spanning the past 20 years of Palwick's career, the eight previously published and three new stories in this outstanding collection (after her 2005 novel The Necessary Beggar
) display the author's versatility. The fine title story about an IQ-enhanced mouse named Rodney recalls "Flowers for Algernon." "Gestella" centers on a woman werewolf whose accelerated aging complicates her doomed marriage to a self-obsessed professor. In "Jo's Hair," Palwick imagines remarkable alternate fates for Louisa May Alcott's little woman, Jo March, and her chopped and sold chestnut braid. The quintessential fairy tale "Stormdusk" depicts a child worried about her mother, a trapped snow maiden; the wise, whimsical concluding gem, "GI Jesus," addresses friendship and sacred smalltown "miracles." Palwick's genre-bending short fiction defies categorization and blends humor with pathos. (Mar.)
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Palwick's literary output until now has been limited to two critically acclaimed novels, the most recent of them the ghost story The Necessary Beggar
(2005). This, her first story collection is a welcome addition to her oeuvre and a fitting introduction to her wide-ranging talent and vision. In the title story, an homage to Daniel Keyes' classic story "Flowers for Algernon,"^B an IQ-enhanced lab mouse awakens to the knowledge of his own impending demise. "Gestella" recounts the unsettling fate of a female werewolf who ages more rapidly than her increasingly less-interested human lover. In one of the volume's standouts, "GI Jesus," a small-town woman finds hope in the face of Jesus imprinted on an X-ray of her abdomen. All 11 pieces explore conundrums of human existence, from the perennial pursuit of utopia to the many faces of mortality. Embracing elements of both horror and speculative fiction, Palwick's unique and commanding fiction never fails to trigger an emotional response as it captures the imagination. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved