CAUnYy4w 2af1b

Verge: Stories
By Lidia Yuknavitch
(Riverhead Books)

Fans of Lidia Yuknavitch already know all her sentences are consistently some combination of: intense, electric, damp, arresting—this collection of short stories follows that trend. Some are super-short snapshots. Others have a full, pulsing life. And as a collection, they are populated by misfits on the edge of town, people feeling themselves as mammals existing in liminal spaces. The first story sets an astonishing pace that demands the reader close and blink at the book for at least two full minutes at the end. That level of rapture is frequent but not exclusive, as other selections get so gritty they grate. 

There is also light fantasy here—language that feels aquatic, otherworldly interactions, several vignettes that unfold like fables. Protagonists range from one roiling in angsty teenhood within eyeshot of a new penitentiary; to a brokenhearted, one-eyed road-tripper; to a tiny organ transporter; to a girlfriend seeking her partner’s forgiveness. Yuknavitch throws an unflinching spotlight on those in the shadowed margins, without being heavy-handed or tokenizing. Too rough to read all at once, these tales are probably best-encountered one complicated, heaving hunk at a time. (4/5)

By Christine Femia

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

More from BUST

"Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick" Offers Even More Reasons To Love Zora Neale Hurston

Zadie Smith Continues To Master The Short Story In "Grand Union"

"American Indian Stories" Showcases Zitkála-Šá's Work 

Support Feminist Media! During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com. Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.