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The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

by Aimee Bender

Reading these unsettling but addictive short stories, you will find yourself suddenly slipping from the familiar world into a surreal alternative reality, like Alice. Call it experimental fiction or magical realism, this is the modern day Freudian equivalent of Grimms' fables in which the author explores the 'bizarre beauty of the unconscious'.

Extract

The woman is a librarian and today her father has died. She got a phone call from her mother in the morning, threw up and then dressed for work. Sitting at her desk with her back very straight, she asks the young man very politely, the one who always comes in to the library to check out bestsellers, asks him when it was he last got laid. He lets out a weird sound and she says shhh, this is a library. She has her hair back and the glasses on, but everyone has a librarian fantasy and she is truly a babe beneath.
I have a fantasy, he says, of a librarian.
She smiles at him but asks her original question again. She doesn't want someone brand new to the business but neither is she looking for a goddamn gigolo. This is an important fuck for her.

Parallels

Bluebeard's Egg and other Stories by Margaret Atwood
Self Help by Lorrie Moore
Wayward Girls and Wicked Women by Angela Carter (ed)
 

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