The author strikes like an earthquake in a land that hardly recalls mild tremors, evoking quivers of awe at both the power of the written word and the scope of human imagination ... What is remarkable about The Wrong Heaven is that it is not only a brilliant story collection, but also a manifesto-in-action announcing what the contemporary short story should be ... In Bonnaffons’s micro-universes, the rules change suddenly, often inexplicably—and the test is how the characters accept or reject those surprises ... the striking and unflappable facility with which her characters address their new realities is something novel and breathtaking ... The Wrong Heaven never disappoints ... She is also an intensely wise writer who has a keen sense for the pulse of this complex moment in history—who has written stories in which facts, if not truth, are always negotiable.
At once goofy, poignant, and edged with the fantastic, the stories in Bonnaffons's debut collection initially surprise, then turn into one long, delicious rush—you just have to get into the author's frame of mind ... Not just fun but full of smart ideas; as the woman-become-horse observes, 'Would you rather transform your Core, or your entire being?'
The Wrong Heaven, taps into a dark and funny unrest seen — most famously — in the early works of Lorrie Moore. It’s a raw look at how women handle — or don’t — 'curdled potential' and self-inflicted pressure of day-to-day life. Amy Bonnaffons is a new author you’ll want to read and want to watch.
In the literary sense, Bonnaffons is a close neighbor of Karen Russell and Laura van den Berg, with Kelly Link perhaps living down the block ... In general, these are stories of yearning, of desires and voids that the women telling the stories can’t quite name ... I enjoyed these character studies and explorations of emotional landscapes, although there was a certain amount of thematic overlap. 'Horse' is...the strongest story, and the book’s just about worth picking up just for that.
In her first collection, Bonnaffons dazzles and cuts with 10 hilarious and cathartic short stories ... The author employs a modern magical realism, absurd, nihilistic, and playful all at once.... Resonant of Alissa Nutting’s novels and George Saunders’ Pastoralia (2000), Bonnaffon’s first collection presents a powerful and fresh new voice.
In the stories of her imaginative and unsettling debut, Bonnaffons creates worlds much like ours, except for the parts that are askew ... when Bonnaffons hits the sweet spot between the emotional and physical realities of this world and the odd, askew thing that lets readers see them, the collection is at its best. This is an outstanding, exciting debut.