*Title: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Date Read: 03 October 2009
Available Online?: NO – read from Kelly Link’s published collection, Pretty Monsters (Canongate Books)
Briefly: Based around Jeremy Mars and a close-knit group of friends who all have a passion for a TV series called The Library, Magic for Beginners joins Jeremy at the point where his mother has inherited an isolated phone booth on the state highway, together with a wedding chapel in Vegas, from her great aunt Cleo Baldrick. Seeing it as a good opportunity to take a break from life with her eccentric novel-writing husband Gordon Strangle Mars (Jeremy’s father), Jeremy’s mother invites him to join her on a trip to put her great aunt’s affairs in order.
Afterthoughts: If it’s Link’s goal to get weirder and weirder with her stories as the Pretty Monsters collection progresses, then she is succeeding admirably. Magic for Beginners is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read, yet it’s also one of the most strangely compelling. It’s just a shame that again this is a non-horror story that doesn’t really fit in with the theme of my Shots of Shock reading challenge. With this third story in the collection now done and dusted, I know that I’m not the target reader that Link was aiming for with Pretty Monsters, but I certainly don’t feel completely excluded. Just don’t try to get me explain what this, or any of the other stories are actually about
Notable Quote: “Jeremy’s mother is a librarian. His father writes books. Jeremy reads biographies. He plays trombone in a marching band. He jumps hurdles while wearing a school tracksuit. Jeremy is also passionately addicted to a television show in which a renegade librarian and a magician named Fox is trying to save her world from thieves, murderers, cabalists, and pirates. Jeremy is a geek, although he’s a telegenic geek. Somebody should make a TV show about him.”
*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock reading challenge.