A guidebook introduces foreign visitors to a recognizable but dreamlike America, where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat. A department-store supervisor must discipline employees who don't smile enough at customers, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all. A woman reluctantly agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous mechanical spider for a companion. The characters in these stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre and disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, Viral is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.
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About the Author
The stories in Viral are so brilliant at unearthing the private pains and obsessions of their characters, after turning the final page one is left feeling as though they have been let in on a marvelous secret. Emily Mitchell is a masterful, magical writer, and Viral is an astounding collection. --Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth"
Emily Mitchell's remarkable, innovative stories run the gamut of human experience there are young lovers and old haters, there is laugh-out-loud funny stuff and melancholy reflection, straightforward plots and curvy free association. In short, this is a many-tentacled book of great variety, and it's exciting to see it unleashed upon the world. --Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply"