The strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, and unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.
A wildly imaginative collection in which elements of science fiction, fantasy, and even crime fiction blend together in a maelstrom of entertaining darkness that peels away layers of normalcy to reveal the weird, creepy things at the core of each story ... Stories that are very different from each other but that share cohesive elements that give the collection a sense of unity ... Something Fu does time and again — setting up a wild premise and then using it to make a deeper statement ... While each story in Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century takes place in a different world and feels unique, Fu's obsession with infusing the normal with the supernatural, the weird, the bad side of technology, or the grotesque gives the collection a wonderful sense of cohesion ... Full of surprises and strange new things — and those make for truly addictive reading. This collection cements Fu as one of the most exciting short story writers in contemporary literature.
Wonderful ... An endlessly entertaining bestiary from one of the country's most exciting practitioners of fiction ... Fu has a formidable talent for misdirection, and it lends her stories a sly air of the unforeseen ... Nearly every story in Fu's collection is a standout ... There's nothing to fault in this book; it's an endlessly inventive collection from a real talent.
... a short story collection containing twelve narratives that, though disparate in plot and subject, come together in a thematic and emotional symphony ... Fu’s writing has often been highlighted for its precision and freshness, and her latest publication does not disappoint, offering us a novel, sharp, and insightful perspective on the concept of normalcy ... in each story, Fu is determined to take reality and twist it. Ordinary life is teased apart and then slightly altered: a technology is added, a natural process is exaggerated, a standard element of life inexplicably disappears. Despite these alterations, the twists are so seamlessly woven into the fabric of our known world that we quickly come to accept them as just another aspect of reality. Though surprised when we initially find ourselves presented with the unfamiliar or the absurd, we soon find ourselves wondering why a Time Cube is any more difficult to believe than, say, an Apple Watch or a 3D Printer ... Fu’s prose is unembellished but often sparsely beautiful and, true to its title, is deeply resonant for a modern audience. Well-paced, clear, and confident, the narration navigates both the familiar and the absurd with deftness and wit ... There is something achingly and electrically familiar about the way that Fu characterizes the many dangers of modern life ... The familiarity of Fu’s prose is a testament to her ability to drop her readers fluidly and quickly into a fictional mind. The psychology of her characters is wonderfully immersive, and in a matter of lines, we believe them entirely as real and complex people. After the shock of the initial reading, printing a wife’s new body out in the basement comes to seem as ordinary a pastime as looking out a window or pouring a glass of orange juice. It is this combination of familiarity and strangeness, this simultaneous commitment to and deviation from normalcy, that makes Fu’s work so captivating.