There’s a dash of the fantastic in Gwen E. Kirby’s funny, feminist stories.
On this week’s episode, Gwen E. Kirby discusses Shit Cassandra Saw (Penguin, Jan. 11), a stellar story collection featuring rebel women of the present and past battling the patriarchy with style and grace. And fangs.
Here’s a bit from Kirkus’ starred review of Shit Cassandra Saw: “For much of history, women have gotten a pretty raw deal. They have been forced to cross-dress if they wanted to travel freely. They have been ostracized for making their living as prostitutes when few other economic opportunities existed. For gifts like the power to heal, they have been accused of witchcraft and hanged, the earliest reported instance in 1594 in Wales. The Greek goddess Cassandra even received the gift of prophesy from Apollo only to find that no one believed her visions of the future after she refused to have sex with him. In Kirby’s marvelous debut collection, however, none of these women are quietly suffering victims.…With zany plots, unconventional forms, and playful, poetic language, these stories delight at every turn.”
Kirby and host Megan Labrise discuss the short story as a form; flash fiction; Kirby’s tenure as a slush pile reader for the Cincinnati Review, and how the story “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” grew from that experience; marriage, motherhood, loneliness, and obligation in the story “Here Preached His Last”; adding a soupçon of fantasy to an otherwise realistic work of fiction; finding the courage to claim “writer” as a part of your identity; and much more.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Summer Edward, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick offer their top picks in books for the week.
Lawless Spaces by Corey Ann Haydu (Simon & Schuster)
Pig and Horse and the Something Scary by Zoey Abbott (Abrams)
The Lyrics: 1965 to the Present by Paul McCartney, ed. by Paul Muldoon (Liveright/Norton)
Small World by Jonathan Evison (Dutton)
Also mentioned on this episode:
A Mystery in the Forest by Susanna Isern, illus. by Daniel Montero Galán, trans. by Jon Brokenbrow (Cuento de Luz)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Knopf)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)
Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1965-1999 by Paul McCartney, ed. by Adrian Mitchell (Norton)
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Shepherd's Warning by Cailyn Lloyd
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.