White Cat, Black Dog: Stories
Kelly Link doesn’t write a bad sentence. Each story is eerie, compelling, and beautiful. Link takes a crumb of each folk tale and twists it until it is nearly unrecognizable, creating entirely new fables that discomfort and provoke.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • “The Brothers Grimm meet Black Mirror meets Alice in Wonderland. . . . In seven remixed fairy tales, Link delivers wit and dreamlike intrigue.”—Time
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize • “Thought-provoking and wonderfully told . . . so seamlessly entwines the real with the surreal that the stories threaten to slip into reality, resonating long after reading.”—BuzzFeed
A new collection from one of today’s finest short story writers, MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow Kelly Link, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble—featuring illustrations by award-winning artist Shaun Tan
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Public Library, Shondaland, Slate, The Globe and Mail, Electric Lit, Tordotcom, Polygon, Chicago Public Library, Kirkus Reviews
Finding seeds of inspiration in the stories of the Brothers Grimm, seventeenth-century French lore, and Scottish ballads, Kelly Link spins classic fairy tales into utterly original stories of seekers—characters on the hunt for love, connection, revenge, or their own sense of purpose.
In “The White Cat’s Divorce,” an aging billionaire sends his three sons on a series of absurd goose chases to decide which child will become his heir. In “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear,” a professor with a delicate health condition becomes stranded for days in an airport hotel after a conference, desperate to get home to her wife and young daughter, and in acute danger of being late for an appointment that cannot be missed. In “Skinder’s Veil,” a young man agrees to take over a remote house-sitting gig for a friend. But what should be a chance to focus on his long-avoided dissertation instead becomes a wildly unexpected journey, as the house seems to be a portal for otherworldly travelers—or perhaps a door into his own mysterious psyche.
Twisting and turning in astonishing ways, expertly blending realism and the speculative, witty, empathetic, and never predictable—these stories remind us once again of why Kelly Link is incomparable in the realm of short fiction.
Praise for White Cat, Black Dog: Stories
“Kelly Link is the master of the modern fairy tale.”—Today
“White Cat, Black Dog [is] the perfect opportunity to get to know one of America’s most inventive, evocative writers.”—Slate
“Kelly Link is something of a short story sorceress.”—The Washington Post
“To read Link is to place oneself in the hands of an expert illusionist, entering a world where nothing is ever quite what it seems.”—The New Yorker
“As intense, absorbing and weird as the best dreams.”—The Guardian
“[Stories of] sparkling strangeness.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Kelly Link . . . masterfully twists familiar source material into unexpected, new shapes. . . . She beckons us into her gingerbread house in the cul-de-sac suburbs, hoping to entangle and provoke us. . . . For Link, modern literature can never outgrow the resilience and resonance of the fairy tale. And even if it could, what fun would that be?”—The Atlantic
“Kelly Link secures her crown as queen of the literary fairy tale. . . . Again and again, Link applies her fairy tales like a nutcracker to our contemporary archetypes, breaking them open and making us shiver with mingled horror and delight at the tiny and unsettling wonders she finds within.”—Vox
“There are, of course, other authors adept at blending the real and the unreal, but there may well be no one who does it as impressively as Link.”—The Boston Globe
“Like magic, narrative rearranges the world through words, and Kelly Link is one of modern fiction’s boldest alchemists.”—Electric Lit
“White Cat, Black Dog marks a glittering new height in the literature of the weird.”—The Spectator (UK)
“Fans of Station Eleven, speculative fiction or simply anyone who needs a brief escape from the hard, cold world will find the prose here magically transporting.”—Salon
“Link is a genius. . . . [This book is] pure modern folklore—eccentric, taut and tapped into the collective subconscious.”—Los Angeles Times
“The maestro fantasist of short fiction brings us more mystical stories—of animals, human and not, and the unattainable desires that make up all our lives.”—Bustle
“This is extra-strength Link: funny, bizarre and wild, but never reckless.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Kelly Link’s stories are spooky and funny, grounded, and floating, and, as always, completely her own. There is no mistaking a story by Kelly Link. This book is sublime.”—Emma Straub, author of This Time Tomorrow
“These are big stories, tales you dive into, live inside, and come out the other end changed.”—Victor LaValle, author of Lone Women