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Incendiary Girls

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Incendiary Girls explores our baser instincts with vivid imagination and humor. In these stories, our bodies become strange and unfamiliar terrain, a medium for transformation. In “Fundamental Laws of Nature,” a doctor considers her legacy, both good and bad, when she discovers that her mother has been reincarnated as a thoroughbred mare. In the title story, a mischievous ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by New Harvest
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  184 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book packs more of a wallop than a punch! Here are my top five reasons why you should read this short story collection even if it's the only one you read in 2014!

1) Scheer's prose is of the variety that reminds you of the power of good literature. Her images leap off the page. Her wry, understated description of emotions will cut you deeply.

2) Her stories are truly one-of-a-kind. Where else are you going to find a collection that includes a love virus, a pregnant man, the Armenian geno
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What an amazing collection of short stories -- how our bodies betray us in illness and cancer, and of the travails of the human body. Read the full review on my blog Guiltless Reading
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
I'm not exactly sure if she meant it to be, but if any inspiration from Kafka was used to craft the narratives in this book, it was definitely felt. It's difficult to review a book steeped in magic realism, as it usually lends to such an ambiguous tone, and ambiguity is not one of my favourite literary devices. I sometimes hate being left to my own imagination, as insane as that sounds, coming from an avid reader. Kodi Scheer was successful in her efforts to mix reality with surreality, but I wa ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf
Incendiary Girls is a breathtakingly honest look at how, as women, when our bodies, or parts of our bodies fail us, we still have our souls to keep us from falling apart.

Very rarely do I find a collection of short stories I am compelled to read cover to cover. With Incendiary Girls I felt an odd connection to each of the women in the stories, seeing myself having experienced some aspect of each of them at some point in my life, most prominently:

Ellen, in "Fundamental Laws of Nature," wants to be
Zoe Brooks
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
Kodi Scheer combines her medical training and understanding with magic realism to form an original collection of short stories.

In Fundamental Laws of Nature - a woman doctor and cancer sufferer believes her daughter's horse is the reincarnation of her mother.

Transplant - a story about a woman with a transplanted heart who becomes a convert to Islam; this is about a woman searching for hope.

Miss Universe - the contestants turn violently on Miss Afghanistan.

Gross Anatomy - a medical student is
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is a bizarre collection of pieces to be sure. My usual approach to any short story collection is to read straight through in order, just as I would chapters in a novel. This time, though, I mixed it up a bit. We have company in this week so shorts were definitely the perfect read but with time in mind I skipped around and read out of order. And so the story "Miss Universe" was one of the first I read rather than the third in order. This is a brutal little tale about Miss Universe competitor ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Let's just say I was flummoxed by this one.

Full review:

Stephanie Beardslee
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
Pretty good but seemed to be lacking something. Kind of different.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Collection of stories largely centered on women. Lot of medical situations/settings--doctors, nurses, hospitals, conditions, etc. Interesting, but stories tend to run a little long and sometimes feel repetitious, taken as a whole, due to sameness of subject matter and the occasional reliance on the dream/druggy revelatory device.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very unusual & weird

This is a collection of short stories. Some were worth reading but the majority were too "out there" for my taste. I also dislike profanity so some were too crass for me. I wouldn't waste my time on this book.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
When writing about a collection of short stories, the brain always wants to stitch connecting themes together. There are multiple references to childbirth, the medical profession, and military service in Scheer's odd and wonderful collection of short stories.

But there's also extreme magical realism, much lesser magical realism, some bits that could be considered magical realism but also just be considered strange-ish real life - no magical realism needed - and some fewer bits of flat out fantas
This review was originally published to Bookish Ardour

I have two devices, a Kindle and Sony eReader, for reading. I had originally planned to read Incendiary Girls after a novel waiting on my eReader. Except, I had a trip into the city and forgot my eReader. Instead I brought my Kindle along and realised far too late that it was the wrong device.

So what to do? My city trip involved lounging around waiting on the grounds of Sydney Uni. Incendiary Girls is a collection of short stories. I decided
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I confess that while I love reading short stories, reading short story collections is rarely my thing. By the time I make it halfway through, I’ve pretty much lost steam –like I’ve gone on a short story binge and need a decent purge (say, a novel). There are other annoyances for me – such as an imbalance of quality, where a few stories leave me nearly breathless and others leave me wondering what accident
Laura (booksnob)
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, 2014
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
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology
The eleven stories in Incendiary Girls challenge the reader to explore parts of the human brain and human emotions they rarely think of. The stories contain fantastical elements; a lover who changes into a camel, a man who unknowingly contained male and female anatomies and is now pregnant, a Death Angel who is pleased to wrongly predict an early death. The stories also contain references to medical knowledge. Many of the narrators either are studying medicine or interact with medical surroundin ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program and would like to thank everyone who made that happen.

This is a pretty fantastic book of short stories. I gave it only 4 stars because I did not like every story - some of them just didn't hit the mark for me but the ones that did were really great. All of the stories were very original and touched on overall themes of mortality and fate. The collection as whole was at turns both grotesque and poignant, and in places b
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like, when there are fantastical or surreal elements to a story, that they should serve a purpose. They should amplify or, in comparison, minimize some aspect of the story to get to a certain underlying truth. I don't think a story if very successful if it has a surreal element just for it's own sake or to only allow an ending with a clever twist.

Many of these stories have surreal elements; many even border on grotesque. It's a mix of success in this collection and, to be honest, the grot
Kristiana Kahakauwila
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Natalie E. Ramm
This book of short stories was very different and entertaining, but a lot of the same literary themes were used in the stories. I understand coherency of a short story collection, but not to the point that it gets tiresome. I think of all of the stories I liked the one about the girl and her camel boyfriend best (along with the angel of death story.

Read the rest of my review here:
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book for review.
First off, short story collections aren't my thing... I just start getting into the story and it ends! This particular collection (the author's debut) is fresh and intriguing, more than a little quirky, and occasionally disconcerting. A number of the stories deal with the difference between belief and reality -- or how belief changes perceptions of reality.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, kindle
A set of literary short stories, most of them having a medical theme. The great ones are great, sometimes even Kafka-esque, definitely hypnotic, but the not so great are forgettable. My favourites of the collection are Transplant, Miss Universe and When a Camel Breaks Your Heart.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this collection of short stories made me constantly think. I normally read mysteries and that is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed these stories. You were always trying to figure out where it was going. I read this book faster than any book I have read lately. I'm looking forward to the next book by this interesting author.
Jade Warwick
As soon as I finished this month's Kindle First pick--Midair--I turned to my boyfriend and said that I was going to read everything this author had ever written. 24 hours later, I've finished Incendiary Girls. With the same voice and a similar tone and delivery, I'm not surprised that I loved this compilation of short stories as well. Will be expanding this review soon.
Stacey Lozano
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
As a whole I enjoyed the book. It gave me new ways to look at writing, and life. There were two stories that got creepy and I couldn't finish, and the language was harsher than many might like it. I do not think this is for teens or children, but then that's my take on the stories.
Kasey Jane
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, short-stories
"Skeeter's wife, Kasey, kept pouring the doubles for him, bending over the bar every chance she got to show off her cleavage, which wasn't half bad for a middle-aged woman who'd lived fast and hard."

Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
The stories were lyrical--bordering on magical. However, most of her endings left me wanting.
Celia Barry
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting, thought-provoking short stories!
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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, ...more