Seven ingeniously reinvented fairy tales that play out with astonishing consequences in the modern world, from one of today’s finest short story writers—MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow Kelly Link, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble
Featuring illustrations by award-winning artist Shaun Tan
Finding seeds of inspiration in the Brothers Grimm, seventeenth-century French lore, and Scottish ballads, Kelly Link spins classic fairy tales into utterly original stories of seekers—characters on the hunt for love, connection, revenge, or their own sense of purpose.
In “The White Cat’s Divorce,” an aging billionaire sends his three sons on a series of absurd goose chases to decide which child will become his heir. In “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear,” a professor with a delicate health condition becomes stranded for days in an airport hotel after a conference, desperate to get home to her wife and young daughter, and in acute danger of being late for an appointment that cannot be missed. In “Skinder’s Veil,” a young man agrees to take over a remote house-sitting gig for a friend. But what should be a chance to focus on his long-avoided dissertation instead becomes a wildly unexpected journey, as the house seems to be a portal for otherworldly travelers—or perhaps a door into his own mysterious psyche.
Twisting and turning in astonishing ways, expertly blending realism and the speculative, witty, empathetic, and never predictable—these stories remind us once again of why Kelly Link is incomparable in the realm of short fiction.
About the Author
Kelly Link is the author of Get in Trouble, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, Magic for Beginners, Stranger Things Happen, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have been published in The Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow and has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press and co-edits the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. She is also the co-owner of Book Moon, an independent bookstore in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
“Kelly Link is the master of the modern fairy tale. This collection of short stories is deceptively easy to read—you’ll be turning the pages quickly, but the stories and their strange events are liable to linger in your mind.”—Today
“Fans of Station Eleven, speculative fiction or simply anyone who needs a brief escape from the hard, cold world will find the prose here magically transporting. Under Link’s hand, the stories promise to be wild, wicked and utterly unforgettable.”—Salon
“Link is a genius. . . . [This book is] pure modern folklore—eccentric, taut and tapped into the collective subconscious.”—Los Angeles Times
“The maestro fantasist of short fiction brings us more mystical stories—of animals, human and not, and the unattainable desires that make up all our lives. . . . The collection contains all the good stuff: doppelgängers right and left, puppies that might be foxes, foxes that might be embroidery, and divine swimming sessions in a dinky hotel pool.”—Bustle
“Kelly Link’s stories are spooky and funny, grounded, and floating, and, as always, completely her own. There is no mistaking a story by Kelly Link. This book is sublime.”—Emma Straub, author of This Time Tomorrow
“Kelly Link is the Alice Munro of the fantastic. These are big stories, tales you dive into, live inside, and come out the other end changed. Together, they make a glorious book, full of grand journeys across different times, experiences, and realities.”—Victor LaValle, author of Lone Women
“Kelly Link’s stories are generous with their intellect, wit, humanity, and the hope and dread of what was, of what might be, of what is. White Cat, Black Dog is a marvel.”—Paul Tremblay, author of The Pallbearers Club
“With White Cat, Black Dog, these stories delight and terrify us, and seem to say, Yes, this is the way the world works—haven’t you been paying attention? I am now. What a glorious and bewitching gift this book is.”—Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
“Kelly Link’s stories wriggle under your skin and take up a permanent home there, and somehow you’re grateful to be infested.”—Kiersten White, author of Hide
“Reading Kelly Link is stepping onto a slide that spirals you down into the heart of the kaleidoscope and makes you either smile wide enough that you cry, or the other way around.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Don’t Fear the Reaper
“Troubling old, stale boundaries between literary and genre fiction . . . This is fiction that pulls you swiftly into its world and then holds you completely, lingering like an especially intense dream. Enchanting, mesmerizing, brilliant.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Enchanting . . . Link delivers the kind of off-the-cuff oddness her readers expect, and her reworkings take the clockwork of familiar stories and give them bloody, beating hearts.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)