Spider Pie

January 20, 2008

Spider Pie, by Alyssa Sturgill

Spider Pie, by Alyssa Sturgill.

Bizarro or irreal genre — one of Carlton Mellick III’s bastard lovechildren, perhaps. Spider Pie is a collection of short, short stories (none of them more than five pages long) themed about the violent, grotesque absurdities of life as imagineered by the author. Some of them don’t make a lick of sense, deliberately so; those that do are slightly the better for it, even if the genre doesn’t necessarily require sense, but only the ability to shock or make the reader sit back for a second and then reread.

Favourites? ‘Beware of Kitten’ and the autopsy story about the ice-cream man but they’re all good in their own twisted, intestine-spilling ways. Don’t read Sturgill if you’re expecting neat packages or slice-of-life vignettes: she doesn’t work that way. Read her for not knowing how, or why, one entirely disparate sentence can possibly segue into another, and how it can still (mostly) all hang together. This is stream-of-consciousness poetry hooked on hallucinogens and hammered into prose: some of it will make you laugh, dry-heave or yelp out a hearty “WTF?!?”, but none of it should leave you unmoved.

And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

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