Museum of the Weird
By Amelia Gray
(Fiction Collective 2, Paperback, 9781573661560, 176pp.)
Publication Date: September 2010
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Winner of FC2’s American Book Review/Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize
A monogrammed cube appears in your town. Your landlord cheats you out of first place in the annual Christmas decorating contest. You need to learn how to love and care for your mate—a paring knife. These situations and more reveal the wondrous play and surreal humor that make up the stories in Amelia Gray’s stunning collection of stories: Museum of the Weird.
Acerbic wit and luminous prose mark these shorts, while sickness and death lurk amidst the humor. Characters find their footing in these bizarre scenarios and manage to fall into redemption and rebirth. Museum of the Weird invites you into its hallways, then beguiles, bewitches, and reveals a writer who has discovered a manner of storytelling all her own.
Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, and Caketrain, among others. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she is the founder and co-host of the reading and music show Five Things.
“Amelia Gray’s Museum of the Weird is a cabinet of curiosities—a talking armadillo, a serial killer named God, a woman who amputates her toes for dinner, a man married to a paring knife—this collection of stories is so good and funny and wondrous that I couldn’t look away from her dark and curious imagination.”
—Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody
“To say Amelia Gray belongs in the hilariously inventive hallows of Ann Quin and Rikki Ducornet would be to miss her light. This book is gleaming evidence of the author as a trophy case unto herself, wrought of magic equally surprising, wicked, giddy, and loaded with a megaton of Boom.”
—Blake Butler, author of Scorch Atlas and Ever
"The opening sentence of Amelia Gray’s Museum of the Weird—'One morning, I woke to discover I had given birth overnight'—could serve as a metaphor for the creation of a certain type of story. While many stories come into being through intense authorial diligence and cogitation, others spring into existence in an instant, discharging themselves onto the page almost by magic. "Experienced writers know to approach these latter specimens with skepticism. Inspiration has a seductive power: it wants you to believe that its products are profound and important. Sometimes, miraculously, they are. I don’t know what kind of process Gray employed to write the 24 uncategorizable stories in her eccentric and intermittently arresting new collection, but they bear the signs of having been born overnight. They feel inspired, and embody all the weird energy that word implies, even as they struggle under its burdens. "[The] best stories in Museum of the Weird register as leaps of faith, brave excursions into the realms of the unreal — and convince me that Gray may yet prove an important voice in experimental writing."--New York Times Book Review