TLC Book Tour: Kodi Scheer, Incendiary Girls

Click on the image to buy the book from Powell's
I spent the morning today in a very strange world.  It was a world filled with humans who become animals, with religious conversions, with rare diseases, with hallucinations and with strange journeys.  It was a very physical world, filled with smells and tastes, and lots and lots of bodily fluids.  It was also a metaphorical world, a world of the uncanny, where things that seem very strange turn out to be standing in for something very familiar.  It was a thoughtful world, full of people concerned with big questions about difference, and looking for definitions for themselves and for solutions to the great mysteries of life.  There are lots of hospitals in this world, dead bodies, medical students, and, of course, horses.

I'm pretty sure that this is the world inside Kody Scheer's head, and what can be found in her collection of short stories Incendiary Girls.  I suppose that you could call most of the stories in the collection "magical realism," but to me they were just metaphors for some of the most difficult depths of human experience.  For instance, in the story "When a Camel Breaks Your Heart" the protagonist awakens to find that her boyfriend has turned into a camel, but through the careful reveal of the story, we realize that he was a "camel" all along, even if being a camel doesn't mean exactly what we think it does.  A similar thing happens in many of the stories, like in "Primal Son" when a baby boy is born covered in thick fur, or in "No Monsters Here" when a young mother finds her husband's ear in her clothes hamper. 

Scheer's head is an uncomfortable place to be, because her stories ask us difficult questions about how we see ourselves and others.  But there is also magic in her prose, and I was touched by many of her stories.  Although I'm not usually a fan of so-called "magical realism,"  I was happy to visit this strange dreamscape for a little while, even in the moments when it was tinged with nightmare.

Title:Incendiary Girls
Author: Kodi Scheer
Publisher:New Harvest
Date: 2014
 Genre:Short Stories

189 pages.
Where I got it: From the publisher and TLC Book Tours.  Please visit the other blogs on this tour here.


  1. From your description it sounds like these stories will stick with readers for a long time.

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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