This debut collection explores what it means to face the void, human beings try to find their way in bizarre and dystopic settings, whether their own body, their relationships, their home, or the world at large.
The bizarre, droll stories in Kate Folk’s first book would be satisfying to read in any era, but they’re particularly well suited to this one ... Folk...writes witty, cinematic fiction that merges familiar scenarios with uncanny menace ... Once or twice, in her effort to foreground wild scenarios, Folk builds her narratives around relatively forgettable protagonists, sidelining her most promising characters ... Let’s savor Folk’s winning debut, a book that capably captures the lunacy of the moment we’re living through.
The whole book has an eerie warmth that echoes the comedic timing in the goofy earlier episodes of The X-Files: parables hidden under parody, missed connections no less tortured for their bizarre circumstances ... Out There is for readers who consider body horror to be a love language. True romantics will swoon either despite or because of the gore that accompanies these sharp, affable stories, all of which eventually reveal themselves to be about the distance between aloneness and loneliness ... Folk’s stories have been compared to Shirley Jackson’s, and this is most apparent in the way Folk balances her horror with humor. To paraphrase the last line of Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Folk knows what it means to walk alone.
'Out There' originally ran in the New Yorker and was something of a viral sensation. Fans of the story won’t be disappointed by the collection, which also explores a gendered territory somewhere in the borderlands of magical realism, weird horror, sci-fi and literary fiction about jaded relationships. In these dreamscapes, men are less an open threat than a vaguely cloying aura, like the lavender-scented perfume into which blots dissolve once they have secured your credit cards ... Folk’s [stories] don’t exactly propose a way to rewrite men or women or their relationships. The stories in Out There are more interested in probing for glitches in the commands, places where the narratives about gender dissolve for a moment into static—fascinating, painful, blank—before picking up the signal again.