The Melancholy of Anatomy
By Shelley Jackson
Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385721202, 192pp.
Publication Date: April 2, 2002
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Amusing, touching, and unsettling, The Melancholy of Anatomy is that most wonderful of fictions, one that makes us see the world in an entirely new light.
Here is the body turned inside out, its members set free, its humors released upon the world. Hearts bigger than planets devour light and warp the space around them; the city of London has a menstrual flow that gushes through its underground pipes; gobs of phlegm cement friendships and sexual relationships; and a floating fetus larger than a human becomes the new town pastor. In this debut story collection, Shelley Jackson rewrites our private passages, and translates the dumb show of the body into prose as gorgeous as it is unhygienic.
"Witty, multilayered, and beautifully written : a startling and memorable collection." —Ali Smith, author of Hotel World
"These tales prance and pirouette along the edge of the surreal. Sometimes they dive directly in, to bring back a sense of elegance, rightness, and great wisdom."—Samuel R. Delany, author of Dhalgren
"Shelley Jackson is a gifted writer . . . who, very playfully, very disturbingly, takes the body apart and puts it back together again, always in startlingly imaginative ways. These tales of the anatomy's ludicrous sorrows are deliciously crafted, maintaining always a fine balance between outrageous comedy and profound melancholy. She is . . . one of the most poised and original talents of her generation." —Robert Coover, author of Pricksongs & Descants
"She erases the boundaries between body and self, secretion and shedding, love and loathing, enveloping the reader in a slippery, icky, fascinating world." —The Village Voice Literary Supplement