The literary, historic, and fantastic collide in these unsettling magical realist stories. From bewildering assemblies in school auditoriums to the murky waters of a Depression-era health resort, Beams’s landscapes are tinged with otherworldliness.
Clare Beams’ voice rings true throughout her masterful first collection ... Cannily, she covers more than one base, appealing to readers who prefer disjointed, otherworldly scenarios and those who like their fiction grounded in recognizable reality. She also ensures that every situation or flourish, fantastic or otherwise, is infused with or informed by credible human instincts and emotion ... Beams’ collection skillfully and alluringly navigates the border between the familiar and the unexpected, and beguiles and unsettles in equal measure.
Beams entire collection bewitches—and features complex female characters and feminist takes on broader themes to boot. A sharp eye for detail and an appreciation for emotional nuance underpin Beams’ ability to captivate readers, even as she eschews neat endings in favor of mysteries that linger into discomfort.