Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fiction of the Fates: The Curiosities

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff
Carolrhoda Lab, 2012

In 2008, Maggie Stiefvater sent an email to her critique partners, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff - what if they started a blog where they each posted a short story or flash fiction piece once a week? And so the Merry Sisters of Fate were born, publicly posting stories as they experimented in short form and challenged themselves.

The Curiosities is comprised of many stories that were originally posted on that blog, but not all of them, and this is a short story collection unlike any others I have encountered. It is weird. Creepy. Bizarre. Gory on more than one occassion. But more often than not, I found it to be captivating and in a lot of ways, brave. That's not to say every story was to my taste, but I feel like I learned a lot from this collection.

For starters, you get to see three distinct voices alter and shift depending on the story at hand,  experimenting and trying new things, but the doodles and marginalia were huge additions as well. Each of these women provided commentary not only on their own stories, but offered their thoughts on others as well. It's a great example on what a strong critique group can be and how they can bring out the best writing in each other.

The only author of this collection whose novels I have previously read were Stiefvater's, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. Like any short story collection, I loved some of the tales and wasn't the hugest fan of others, but overall I say that The Curiosities is a prime example of writers breathing new life into the often over looked and lost art of short stories and being brave enough to think outside the box.

Also, I want to leave you all with this quote from one of Maggie's stories which I absolutely love:

You would think that in a world full of normal people, freaks would be kind to other freaks.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading.

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