In Mannequin and Wife, the debut story collection from Jen Fawkes, sharp and imaginative tales trip seamlessly across borderlands, navigating comedy and tragedy, psychological and magical realism, the mundane and the marvelous.Readers of these adventurous fictions will encounter a flock of stenographers, the strongest woman alive, a taxidermist with anger issues, an Elephant Girl, a fairy on her lunch break, and a married couple who live with a department store mannequin. Elsewhere, an American actor impersonates a code-breaking Britisher during World War II. A mother awaiting her son's return discovers his personal ad soliciting the services of a cannibal (and fears the worst). A criminal mastermind's protégé plots the destruction of Mount Rushmore from within an extinct volcano. A man buys a drive-in theater and transforms it into a carnival sideshow. And an attorney puzzles over how to leave someone his deceased client's heart. Fawkes's award-winning stories examine the vagaries of human relationships--mother and child, husband and wife, mentor and protégé--to tease out the startling complications that arise from our entanglements with those we loathe and those we love.
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About the Author
These stories are deep dives into dark waters, full of both treachery and beauty. Jen Fawkes has a boundless imagination, and these stories, full of ghosts, carnival performers, murderers, seekers, lovers, and even talking piñatas, surprise and enchant.--Caitlin Horrocks, author of The Vexations and This Is Not Your City
Mannequin and Wife is magical in every sense of the word. These stories are eerie, funny, sharp, strange, devastating, joyous, brilliant--larger than life. I loved each one so much I never wanted it to end, until the next one started. A bravura debut from a bold new talent.--Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
The stories in Mannequin and Wife have the blaze of immediacy about them, like creatures from some other plane of reality who have broken temporarily and all at once into being, displaying the whole of their life in a single burst. It's not a matter of length, this immediacy, but of attitude, receptivity. How fortunate for us that Jen Fawkes has her eyes open wide, trained in just the right direction to see the things that no one else is seeing.--Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead