Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lungs Full of Noise by Tessa Mellas

Lungs Full of NoiseThis prize-winning debut of twelve stories explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls sets out to remedy the misdirection of their lives in bold and reckless ways.

Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcee steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. Following the advice of a fashion magazine, teenaged girls binge on grapes to dye their skin purple and attract prom dates. And a college freshman wages war on her roommate from Jupiter, who has inadvertently seduced all the boys in their dorm with her exotic hermaphroditic anatomy.

But it isn’t just the characters who are in crisis. In Lungs Full of Noise, personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. Written in lyrical prose with imagination and humor, Tessa Mellas’s collection is an aviary of feathered stories that are rich, emotive, and imbued with the strength to suspend strange new worlds on delicate wings.

This is another fabulous short story collection that was difficult to put down.

For anyone who loves the macabre, like I do, the book’s cover alone will make you pick it up and read the blurb. Let me tell you, this was one crazy ride. I think my favorite story, though, was the very first one, in which figure skaters nail their skates to their feet in an attempt at being something else, no longer women, but “Mariposa Girls”, or butterfly girls. It’s a visceral story that makes the reader feel a bit ill as she reads. Definitely one of the more nuanced stories in the collection.

The writing is beautifully dark. It’s the kind of book that should be read at night, surrounded by silence, so that you can feel the isolation that some of these characters feel. So that the world feels just as stark as the stories.

This is one I’d definitely recommend to all lovers of literary fiction and to those who have a bit of a dark side in their reading habits.

1 comment:

Priya said...

The cover did make me want to pick up the book. It looks so dark and fascinating. Thanks for the lovely review!