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The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club and Other Stories

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In her debut collection, Julia Slavin conjures a world that is both familiar and limitless, where amidst our ordinary lives the banal and the unimaginable brush up against one another with startling grace and ease. From a lovelorn woman who sprouts teeth all over her body, to a man who literally falls to pieces, The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club is an ins ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 6th 2000 by Picador (first published July 6th 1999)
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MJ Nicholls
I am here in my Glasgow lair, on this pleasant February night, snug in bed with a bag of marshmallows, a pint of apple and mango sparkling water, and the mellow sounds of Holly Golightly’s 1995 LP The Main Attraction in my earholes. I am in the mood to review Julia Slavin’s 1999 collection. You are sitting in your offices and apartments desperate to hear MJ pronounce on these twelve warm-hearted and surreal tales, perhaps several of you have been awaiting this review for years, checking the Slav ...more
Jacob
June 2011

Good news, Goodreaders! I finally feel like I belong!

See, I've been here a few years (joined in late '07, active in mid '08--is that Golden Age? Silver? Does anyone keep track of that?), and I've written my share of reviews. Some good, some bad, some clever--but none of them were literary. I'm not particularly worldly or well-read, so I'm pretty impressed (and somewhat intimidated) by those who are. To quote a cool person (Hi, Eh!), "I've noticed many folks who read and review literatur
...more
CH Keyes
Fiction is about exceptions, what is not in the norm. Julia Slavin’s “The Woman Who Cut off her Leg at the Maidstone Club” is a fantastic work of short fiction that does a great job of stepping outside the norm. Slavin creates a duplicitous world where its characters live in a safe but materialistic atmosphere and where their insipidly cheerful surfaces conceal a secret life of digression and infidelities.
One device that jumps out at me is her use of odd names. The woman who is cutting her leg
...more
Nicole
This book is full of dark absurdities, but they're approached cheerfully or as just another part of an average day in the lives of these characters, which lulled me into thinking of them as almost normal. Teeth growing out of skin? Sure, fine. Babyproofing that includes removing a parent from the household? I'm still with you. The author has a way of weaving these impossible elements in so matter-of-factly and with such authority that I have no desire to question them. And the surreal elements i ...more
lavinia
This book was recommended to me by someone who knew that I enjoy magic realism a lot. Unfortunately, I was unable to create a connection to the stories here, the author seemed like she is still searching for her style and is experimenting with a bunch of different ways of writing.

I'm still looking for that female author who will write in such a way that you can't tell if she's a woman or is a man. I'm not saying that one should not write about "womanly" issues, but babies and love are topics th
...more
Kevin Groosalugg
Many of Julia Slavin's stories are like Shel Silverstein poems for adults, crazy over-the top tales of women eating people and having the eaten people live inside of them or people who grow teeth all over their bodies....and these are quirky, interesting and a little funny. But the best ones in this collection are the open ended glimpses into people's lives like "Rare is a cold red center' , which is probably my favorite. "Blighted" is a little crazy but very good also. This is an insanely quick ...more
Shel
Oct 31, 2010 Shel added it
Shelves: stories
These are a mix of realistic and imaginative stories. Often strange things —from a couple who refuse to clean up a pudding after dropping it in a fight for so long that it crystallizes to the floor to a woman who grows teeth all over her body —happen in realistic settings.

Many of the stories explore the relationships and emotional states of couples who are devoted to raising children. New parents may appreciate, "Babyproofing".
...more
Hannah
Oct 08, 2008 Hannah added it
I read this because of a namecheck by Amy Hempel and was accordingly disappointed, for the first couple stories, that this book was obviously not written by Amy Hempel. Then I got over it. There are still some moments where it seems too easy somehow - not surprising enough - but I think I over-value surprise in art. I just like things better when they get done differently from how I'd do them.
Skye
A book full of truly weird stories. After hearing a description of one of the stories, my dad said to me, "I never thought I'd say this, but if you need something more mainstream to read I have a copy of William Gibson's latest." I love this book and recommend it highly to anyone with an appreciation of the odd.
Rachel
This book was my introduction to magical realism or fantastical fiction or experimental short stories or whatever you want to call it. I didn't know any of these terms when I read this collection, just knew I liked the book.
Sophie
Brilliant. Moving. Imaginative. Everything I want a short story collection to be.
Syreeta McFadden
fun stories - particularly dentiphilia, swallowed whole and rare is the red center
Almaslegacy
Good funny "brain candy". A mix of hilarious and darker stories. Pretty good.
Rachel
What a weirdly awesome book.
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Julia Slavin's stories have won a Pushcart Prize and GQ's coveted Frederick Exley Fiction Competition. She worked for a decade as an ABC-TV producer in New York before moving to Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband. She is currently at work on a novel.
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