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Get in Trouble

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  10,024 ratings  ·  1,665 reviews
She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection--her first for adult readers in a decade--proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability to take reade
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Random House
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Brendan Link likes to play with verb tense and person in her stories--off the top of my head, both the title story and "Lull" in Magic For Beginners do simila…moreLink likes to play with verb tense and person in her stories--off the top of my head, both the title story and "Lull" in Magic For Beginners do similar things--and I don't know if there is a single specific reason for it. It's more interesting, to me, to think about the effects.

For instance, the fluid shift between second and third person makes the narrative seem breezy compared to its somewhat grim subject matter, as if it's part of a story being told aloud in an interview by a tired person who loses track of how close to the story they are. Also, a lot of the second-person pieces are imperatives; maybe that's where we actually get to hear the protagonist thinking, trying to force himself to get it together--and having trouble with the slippery dual nature of the character he's played and the actor he actually is, or was. Then there's the matter of a character in the story who never actually appears "onscreen," but whose presence both figuratively and literally haunts it. What if that character is watching the protagonist, sometimes observing him in the third person, sometimes addressing him in the second?

I'm sure there are more interpretations, and maybe a more structured reason behind them, but those are the ones that suggested themselves to me. This is a good question! Thank you for making me examine that aspect of the story more closely.(less)
TPK It was probably whoever "Paul Zell" actually was (it's highly likely this name is a pseudonym -- interestingly, it also rhymes with "Kal-El," the Kryp…moreIt was probably whoever "Paul Zell" actually was (it's highly likely this name is a pseudonym -- interestingly, it also rhymes with "Kal-El," the Kryptonian birth name of Superman, in a story where a superhero convention is going on). The email to Billie later on was an attempt to pretend he wasn't there, in order to keep the relationship going online.

As far as bedwetting is concerned, Conrad's dad runs the hotel. Conrad seems to know pretty much everything that goes on inside the hotel. And the maid who cleaned up the room in which Billie stayed would have noticed that someone wet the bed.(less)

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*Tentatively looks around* Is it just me? Reading through the glowing reviews of this book of short stories leaves me baffled. I have never been a short story aficionado, but I always try to broaden my horizon when it comes to book genres. Unfortunately this really really didn't work for me. I think that this book is more of a case of “it's not you, it's me” .

I found a lot of the stories/dialogue really weird and random, and for short stories that doesn't really help. It took me so long to u
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing

^^that was from the first time I read this beauty, back in 2015. Fast-forward to now: a few weeks ago it struck me, apropos nothing, that it had been a devastatingly long time since I'd read any Kelly Link. Even more devastatingly, she hasn't published any new books in the last five years!! But all her strange glorious beauty is still here, waiting to once again be plucked from my shelf and devoured, so here we are.

Something that struck
Though Kelly Link seems to have garnered a veritable cult following, I have somehow remained ignorant of her charms. (This was not a deliberate snub, I assure you.)

All that's behind me now. I have downed her rather murky, yet sweet Kool-Aid, and like a lemming, will blindly follow her off any cliff of her choosing.

Her latest book will hit the shelves in February 2015. It is a collection of nine wondrously dark fairy tales about teenage girls, shadow people, imaginary boyfriends, reality TV show
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, favorites
I get the inevitable comparisons to Karen Russell. I get it. The difference there is, Russell's stories are the day-to-day that shimmer with a nimbus of magic, while Link's worlds are magical, and profoundly steeped with the ordinary.

This short story collection is a froth of bubbles, each one an universe of possibility, and in its pages, we pass through these walls into a world of magical ordinariness. "The Summer People" eases us into this strange new world; out in the summer cottage with a sic
Althea Ann
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
***** The Summer People
This story could function as a wonderful introduction to Link's writing. It features many of the elements and themes that pop up again and again in her stories, and is executed wonderfully.
Here, we have the elements of classic fairytales ("Be bold, be bold. But not too bold – lest that your heart's blood should run cold.") which emerge in a lovely, but seemingly prosaic modern setting. We have the interactions of teenage girls, a legacy passed down through generations. We
Peter Boyle
Get in Trouble was a recent finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Kelly Link's short stories have been compared to the works of Angela Carter, Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson. Those sounded like pretty decent credentials to me so I sought out a copy and gleefully buried my nose in its wonderfully odd pages.

What I enjoyed most about this collection was its unpredictability. Just when you're sure you know where Link is going with a story, she takes you down a road you never even knew existed. These
Apr 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
I woke up, the sun streaming in through the window, and rubbed my eyes. Then I realized it wasn’t the sun, but a fiery angel floating outside. You know, the fiery angels that we all know about. From the next universe over. They’re so common that I don’t need to provide context or even necessarily mention them again.

My head hurt. I picked up a dog-eared copy of Get in Trouble by Kelly Link. I opened it to continue reading but then Rachel came in, half-naked, complaining about her boyfriend. She
Rashmi Tiwari
Oct 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
(quietly standing in corner)

(whispers) Okay, I do not get this book at all. In fact, after getting two thirds of the way through, I am abandoning it and walking away with my hands held high in surrender.

I found most of the stories to be too convoluted and almost smugly vague in their lack of details. I definitely love short stories but these were trying to read and not worth the effort with their verb tense switching and inconsistencies in narrative distance. I totally get that there is some r
Diane S ☔
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Such an imagination, and many surprises await the reader. Stories that seem to be going one way and then veer into the unexpected. Never quite sure where I was, what type of world, what type of situation but it didn't matter, just went along for the ride. The only story I did not crew for was Demon Lover and the first one, The Summer People was my favorite. Loved the specialness, the magical feeling of wonder this one gave me. So different, so special.

ARC from NetGalley.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
I love odd stories, but some of these were just too out there for me to understand what was happening, and that frustrated me. No doubt Kelly Link has a vivid imagination and unique sensibility, but I didn't love these as much as I'd hoped. ...more
Spencer Orey
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
It's always a treat to read fantastical short stories like this. The stories here are intriguing, painful, magical, and tricky. ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I got a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I was happy to have an opportunity to read it. Link is clearly a well liked author for many people and she writes outside of any genre or style that I usually read. Her stories take place in worlds that are surreal, but her writing is understated and presents these worlds in a matter of fact dead pan manner -- so, for example, superheroes, ghosts, robot boyfriends are just part of the everyday fabric of somewhat creepy but ordinary people's lives. I ...more
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know that moment in every action film - the one where the hero has to dive into cold water to deactivate the reactor or turn a lever that is only accessible underwater? They stand on the edge of a dark, unfamiliar pool and calmly fill their lungs with with air before diving head first. The audience instinctively holds its breath as well, some joking to see if the amount of time that passes on screen is even possible and others for the thrill of watching their heroes come so close to an aqua- ...more
I was so ready to love this; it sounded right up my alley AND Neil Gaiman provided a blurb? What could possibly go wrong? And I absolutely adored the first story; I liked the matter-of-factness of the unreal and I liked the ambiguously cruel ending. But after that it went downhill for me; while there were some stories that I really enjoyed quite a few did nothing for me but leave me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. Which is an absolute shame because the ideas behind the stories are mostly ...more
Julie Parks
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I love Kelly Link in every story she's written, but this...this is simply brilliant.

Some of my favorite stories:

The best thing about this story is the mysticism that surrounds the so-called summer people in comparison with the personage we actually "see" appearing in the story (think Facebook profiles, the ones with constant updates from people you don't actually know at all in real life). It draws parallels and points you right in the eye like a toothpick all the pretense peop
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
I read half of the first story and then there was, like, a mysterious magic house up the hill, and stuff? Rather than kill myself, I bailed.
Matthew Quann
If Kelly Link's short stories in Get in Trouble share a common thread, it is that they are all opaque and difficult to wrap one's head around. Link's limited exposition works both for and against her, and some stories work best once their puzzle has been resolved. Most of these stories are set in worlds built entirely anew by Link and show an immense amount of world-building for a relatively small page-payout. One of the most compelling and frustrating parts of this collection is that many of th ...more
Joachim Stoop
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, jochen
This is one of the few times I gave 5 stars to a short story collection. There's always this one or those two stories spoiling the perfect score. Not here!

It's weird how many versions of weird there are: Borges-weird, Calvino-weird, Poe-weird, Vandermeer-weird, Millhauser-weird, Lucia Berlin-weird, The story of my teeth-weird, etc. etc.

Strange stories that allow us to dive into depths of imagination without the worry of having lost our minds. How fun is that in our awfully sane society (on the o
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Karen Russell or George Saunders fans
I'm guessing Kelly Link and Karen Russell were separated at birth. Not only are they both Floridians, they're both wildly imaginative short story writers with a bent toward magical realism. (Ms. Russell whimsically leaning toward anthropomorphized fruit bats, silkworms and barnyard animals, Ms. Link opting for superheroes, squirrels, snakes, and semi-lifelike dolls). They both force you to look at relationships and the world around us in a cockeyed, off-kilter, and wholly original manner.

Get in
Kelly Link joins Ted Chiang and Gene Wolfe in my personal pantheon of spec-fic authors who break my brain and capture my heart with elusive, masterful, mind-bendy short fiction.

It wasn't love at first sight. I read her masterpiece, Magic for Beginners, at the wrong time, when circumstances in my personal life had me craving clarity and comfort from my reading. Kelly Link offers neither of these. Her stories disoriented me, left me hanging, gave me an anxious, something-is-off feeling. Like a mo
Jack Tripper
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The phrase "genre-defying" may be overused and cliche when reviewing an author's work, but I think it perfectly applies to Kelly Link. I wouldn't be surprised to find her books shelved under fantasy, horror, or capital-L "Lit-trah-chah," as her stories contain elements of each.

Much of her fiction is firmly rooted in the "weird" tradition, where reality and unreality are intertwined, but it's infused with a whimsical, Gaiman-esque quirkiness, as opposed to the doom-and-gloom nature of many of her
Rachel Jones
Sep 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry, but this book of short stories must surely be a joke. Somewhere, with several someones, the wooden characters, laughably bad dialogue, and idiotic details (both real and fantastical) that served only to highlight how desperately the author wanted to add "quirk," all passed muster?

I'm guessing this book will appeal to the same type of reader who enjoyed Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Swamplandia!, or anything by Neil Gaiman. In other words, readers who don't mind crappy stories and barel
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting and unusual short stories. I have not read Kelly Link before and I went into this blind, so was not expecting the alternate universe I found. The stories are all very different, but it's as though our universe and its inhabitants are neatly overlaid with a bizarre alternate reality.

I am impressed and envious of Ms. Link's imagination. This book made my very left-brained head hurt. It took me over a week to work through this collection, I could only manage to absorb a story or two at
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like to read short stories as little breaks between other books, but this collection was so good I couldn't stop at just one. I had to read it through. These were wonderfully odd stories that were whole worlds unto themselves. There were common threads sprinkled between some of them: travel to pocket universes, people with double shadows, and minor super powers. In all of these imaginative realities, the emotions were always convincing. Link offers a bit of fantasy, horror, sci-fi and magic. G ...more
Althea J.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highly-rec, favorites

My favorite book of 2015, so far.

Each story is its own gorgeously crafted little universe and I loved spending time in each one.

THIS IS MY JAM. Now I need to read every Kelly Link book ever.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a collection! Not only is Kelly Link brilliantly original, but she is one of the few remaining short story writers who can truly surprise me. A coveted, rare feeling when experiencing short stories. Link is a kind of Shirley Jackson and Kurt Vonnegut love child... with an extra dash of weirdness thrown in. I was lucky enough to meet Link at an author weekend in Vermont, have dinner with her and interview her about this collection. She is simply lovely.

Summer People - 5/5 A strong story to s
Larry H
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
With her latest story collection, Get in Trouble , Kelly Link takes readers to some fascinating and sometimes unique places, populated with tremendously intriguing and compelling characters. While I've seen this book classified as science fiction and fantasy, I think it's probably more the latter than the former. But neither term can accurately convey the appeal of these stories.

Many of the stories in this collection are about relationships—between siblings (when one has technically sprung fr
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Get in Trouble is a weird collection of short stories that take readers to straaaaange places full of iguanas, superheroes, pyramids, and life-size animated doll boyfriends.
I enjoyed all nine stories, some more than others of course, and instead of summarizing each I’ll just tell you about two of my favorites:

Valley of the Girls- elite teens have their own pyramids to party in until they move on to the afterlife. A dramatic stunt may give two of them a fast pass.

The New Boyfriend- a spoiled girl
I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

I have spent entirely too much time trying to come up with an interesting way to talk about this book, but the longer my thinking drags on, the further I get away from my initial reactions to it. Instead of this useless procrastination, I’ll take the risk of sounding ridiculous and just go with whatever is bouncing around in my head.

Kelly Link has been on my reading radar for ages, but this is my fi
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
There was a brief moment, looking at the table of contents of this handsome book, where I was disappointed. I had read too many of the stories before: "The Summer People" in Steampunk!, "I Can See Right Through You" in McSweeney's, "Valley of the Girls" in Subterranean, "Two Houses" in Shadow Show. That's because I seek out all of Link's stories the second I hear about them.
Reading them again wasn't a disappointment, though. They're lovely stories, with depths that aren't hidden: the water is c
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #12 Get in Trouble by Kelly Link 1 13 Mar 27, 2017 05:34PM  

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Kelly Link is an American author best known for her short stories, which span a wide variety of genres - most notably magic realism, fantasy and horror. She is a graduate of Columbia University.

Her stories have been collected in four books - Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and most recently, Get in Trouble.
She has won several awards for her short stories, including th

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Magic Realism: The short fiction writer recommends "books of the uncanny and the strange," not unlike her new story collection, Get in...
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“The boy is loved. The loved one suffers. All loved ones suffer. Love is not enough to prevent this. Love is not enough. Love is enough. The thing that you wished for. Was this it?” 8 likes
“Because love isn’t just love. It’s all the other stuff, too.” 6 likes
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