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False Bingo: Stories

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  81 reviews
In Jac Jemc's dislocating second story collection, False Bingo, we watch as sinister forces (some supernatural, some of this earth, some real, and some not) work their ways into the mundanity of everyday life. In "Strange Loop," an outcast attempting to escape an unnamed mistake spends his days taxiderming animals, while in "Delivery," a family watches as their dementia-ad ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by MCD X Fsg Originals
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
‘’I am a problem without a solution. I am a question without an answer. I am a poison without an antidote. I will never know what it is I’ve done.’’

I fell under Jac Jemc’s spell what I read The Grip of It, one of the most haunting, strangest books. Even now, its memory sends chills down my spine. What I loved so much in it was the underlying terror, the constant, unnamed threat, the darkness whose source cannot be found. Now, I don’t dare to presume things and I am not inside Jac’s mind but
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Let's start the rating off right. :)
Edward Lorn
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a day and age where plot outweighs substance, I'm not entirely sure this book will be for most. In fact, I can think of only three friends who would actively enjoy the majority of this collection. That's not to say it's bad. It's anything but bad. The problem here is the tl;dr crowd, a crowd that has somehow started to seep into readers' circles. The saving grace for this book is that it is packed with short fiction that is quite short. There are three long(ish) stories, but most of what's on ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
any other 1/5 - i don't understand lmao this girl bethany jus wylin' out playing pretend, huh?

delivery 4/5 - upon finishing i out loud said, "what?" this was such a mind fk and i honestly have no idea what i just read but i enjoyed it and want more, i want to understand what was really going on

strange loop 4/5 - so many creepy undertones. ouroboros.

the principal's ashes 4/5 - this felt haunting in a real world way.

don't let's 4/5 - so far maybe this is my favorite story. some myths mimic real l
Tyler Olmsted
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jac Jemc is my favorite. This is a fact. She has such an incredible knack for supernaturalizing the mundane and expanding the everyday. This short story collection is darkly funny, critically honest, and wide open for interpretation. My favorite stories were Maulawiyah, wherein a woman on a technology-free retreat observed the absolutely annoying behavior of people around her, and Under/Over, in which a girl takes the fall for her brother's DUI. Both stories totally nailed the deeply unsettling ...more
Samantha Colwell
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
False Bingo is a short story collection written by one of my favorite indie authors. Jemc’s haunted house novel Grip Of It was a spine-tingling descent into the vulnerability of relationships. I loved every single thoughtfully placed syllable in that novel. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself that favor.

In False Bingo, Jemc’s deceptively simple stories transcend. In my favorite short, “Half Dollar,” two young girls play a terrible prank on a devastated widow by pretending they saw her husban
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

The critically acclaimed Chicago-based writer Jac Jemc teaches, among other places, at Story Studio Chicago, where she leads the Novel in a Year: Speculative Fiction class, guiding students to produce manuscripts that draw upon strange and sinister elements. According to the course description, this includes “fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical realism, transgressive, new weird, and various related sub-genres (for e
Jac Jemc blew me away with her debut My Only Wife, quickly securing my fandom for her.

The worlds in which Jemc's characters reside are slightly off kilter, her stories throb with the sensation that something just isn't right - they produce an itching under the skin, a tingling of the scalp, a raising of the hairs on the back of the neck. No, something is definitely not right here and yet... it remains always just out reach.

She is queen of the strange and eerie, fabulously messing with us as sh
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
False Bingo is a remarkable and haunting collection of stories. While reading it, various stories reminded me of some of my other favorite authors- Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link, and Flannery O'Connor, all who in varying degrees were masters of making readers feel unsettled. There's something truly magical about the ability to feel unsettled. Straight horror is one thing, but making the reader feel like something is slightly off (that person is a little *too* friendly, did I really leave that door ...more
Steve Tannuzzo
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the book's description: "The mundane becomes sinister in a disquieting story collection from the author of The Grip of It. In Jac Jemc's dislocating second story collection, False Bingo, we watch as sinister forces--some supernatural, some of this earth, some real and some not--work their ways into the mundanity of everyday life."

This was my biggest concern with Jac Jemc's collection. False Bingo? More like False Advertising. There's really only one straight-on horror story ("Don't Let's")
Kerry Pickens
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Jac Jemc's collection of short stories are sometimes brilliant enough that you wished they weren't short stories. Even the worst ones are like fever dreams, the mood stays the same but the characters change.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Jemc is solidified in my mind as one of the strange and unusual, and I’m always looking out for the authors willing to take a risk on something entirely different. Her take on a haunted house story with The Grip of It is definitely worth a read for the sheer uniqueness and creepiness of the places it goes, even though I felt that overall it wasn’t as successful a story as I wanted it to be.

With this short story collection, Jemc proves she has a lot more up her sleeve. While I wouldn’t call this
William Lavasque
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So Kudzu was by far my favorite story in this collection. Some of them were delightfully uncomfortable. Many times I found my self reading faster in suspense of trying to figure out some twist at the ends.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Some true (quiet) gems in here, from an author from whom I always eagerly await the next story.
Joshua Bohnsack
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The details and intricacies of each of these stories are amazing and will stick with you.
Jan 09, 2020 added it
Shelves: fiction, dnf
I got about halfway through this before abandoning it. I really liked some of the stories, but overall I just couldn't get into it. I may pick up again later.
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Jemc presents a medley of flash exercises in the uncanny with this, her latest short story collection. A whole slate of female writers writing short fiction today are being compared to Shirley Jackson, even when their chosen genre isn't horror. I'm thinking of Kelly Link, Kristen Roupenian, maybe even Carmen Maria Machado. Jemc even designates one story in False Bingo, "Half Dollar," as an homage to Jackson. Sometimes the comparison is apt and earned, sometimes it isn't. Is Shirley Jackson cool ...more
Audrey (Warped Shelves)
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalleys
Average rating of all stories: 3.4

This review is based on an ARC of False Bingo which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Okay okay okay so if you've never read Jac Jemc (I hadn't prior to False Bingo) then I highly recommend checking her out, and this anthology is a fantastic place to start! What makes her prose so wonderful is that she as an author is hidden beneath strong characters and powerful storytelling, but her voice remains nonetheless. False
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, on-kindle
I love reading short story collections but I always struggle to write reviews for them. It’s like when I look at works of art: I can tell you that I like or dislike something but I can’t necessarily explain why. As I am neither an art critic nor a short story critic, please enjoy this brief, floundering review of a short story collection that I neither liked nor disliked. And hey, lucky for you, I also haven’t figured out how to review books I feel lukewarm about!

The longer stories in False Bing
Horror DNA
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gabino-iglesias
All a reader has to do to understand that Jac Jemc’s work is special is open her latest collection, False Bingo, and read the first story, “Any Other”. Coming in at three-and-a-half-pages, “Any Other” is too short for me to offer you a synopsis without giving too much away. That said, I can tell you things about it that will explain why this collection is a must read: there is more dark humor in those three-and-a-half-pages than in the 300 pages of the last novel I read, there is a twist that’s ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I discovered Jac Jemc this summer when I read her story "Any Other" in Tiny Crimes and fell in love with her writing style. I've been anticipating this collection since then and wow. Completely worth the wait. I loved every single story. Most were dark - which I loved - but there were a few that snuck up on you and were really sweet with a small, lurking feeling of something ominous between the lines. This is definitely one of my most favorite short story collections I've read this year/ever.
Jessica T.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
False Bingo is a short story collection by Jac Jemc. It's a great anthology where Jac flexes her literary muscles. She uses the ordinary (similar to Steven Millhauser) to create a strange and curious narrative. I loved this collection.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
NetGalley provided ARC.

This was very hit or miss for me. There were only a couple of stories that I really liked. The rest felt as if the author was trying too hard.
Jan Stinchcomb
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Typical Jac Jemc: edgy, weird, heavy on atmosphere and nuance. Smart. A great collection that includes both flash fiction and longer stories.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great mix of humor and horror. Well, maybe not quite "horror", but there is a wicked bit of darkness throughout. A great follow up to "The Grip of It".
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
it's hard to star short story collections tbh. this one had 3 stories that were 5/5 for me though.
Becca Younk
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: podcast
We read this for Episode 66 of the Bookstore Podcast. At the time, I think I might have considered rating this 3 stars, because there were some parts I liked, I think I especially liked the first story. But most of the stories felt totally incomplete, and I know at least one was just factually incorrect about the legal system, which always bothers me to no end when authors can't bother to look up how things work. And other than that, I really can't remember anything about these stories. Maybe I ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
It's cool to read a very talented writer at work — I was never bored, and a few of the stories I really, really loved (like Delivery and Half Dollar). But other stories I left feeling kind of vacant. The scenes were set up so beautifully, with interesting characters in interesting situations, but then it would start to feel like a cerebral exploration versus a gritty reckoning with humanity, and end on a note that to me felt too clever and tidy to be moving. I could see how someone could really ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
The problem with some short story collections is three stories will be amazing and the other twenty seven are weird, disjointed plotless ramblings.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredibly unsettling collection of short stories that somehow left me feeling lonely despite having been stuck with my family for the last 4 weeks
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