Nicole's Reviews > The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club and Other Stories

The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club and Other... by Julia Slavin
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's review
Dec 05, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: do-you-believe-in-magic, short-stories-to-kick-ass-by
Read in December, 2008

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 in her stories are, after all, often not much of a stretch from the world we actually live in. It's not impossible to imagine concern for a newborn being taken to unreasonable extremes, and the teeth are the kind of thing we wonder about in scarier daydreams - what if? could it happen? In these worlds it can, often to great effect.

The language in here is really beautiful, in a creepy and disturbing and wonderful way. That may have been part of what lulled me into the less familiar aspects of these stories.

The only thing I took issue with in these stories were some of the endings. A couple of them simply fell flat for me and left me unsure what I was supposed to take away from them. A couple others left me wondering why the surreal construct was necessary to tell stories of human connection - or failure to connect - that could be told just as well through characters in a more familiar setting. Overall, though, very good read.

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