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Magic for Beginners [Hardcover]

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Item description for Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link & Shelley Jackson...

"Highly original."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Dazzling."-Entertainment Weekly (grade: A, Editor's Choice)

"Darkly playful."-Michael Chabon

Kelly Link's engaging and funny stories riff on haunted convenience stores, husbands and wives, rabbits, zombies, weekly apocalyptic poker parties, witches, and cannons. Includes Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award winners. A Best of the Year pick from TIME,, and Book Sense. Illustrated by Shelley Jackson.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2005
Publisher   Small Beer Press
ISBN  1931520151  
ISBN13  9781931520157  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kelly Link & Shelley Jackson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kelly Link is the author of the collections "Get in Trouble, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, "and" Pretty Monsters." She and Gavin J. Grant have co-edited a number of anthologies, including multiple volumes of "The Year s Best Fantasy and Horror "and, for young adults, "Monstrous Affections." She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press. Her short stories have been published in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Best American Short Stories, "and" Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards." She has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Link was born in Miami, Florida. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Northampton, Massachusetts."

Kelly Link currently resides in Northampton, in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Magic for Beginners?

Absolutely Brilliant  Aug 12, 2008
Okay, so it's a silly cliche, but I'm going to use it anyway...Kelly Link is the absolute best writer that you've never heard of. Most people have no idea who she is, our bookstore doesn't even carry her books most of the time, but I think she's utterly brilliant, and she deserves to be better known. She deserves to win the Pulitzer as far as I'm concerned.

The stories in this collection are amazing--warm, witty, profound, laugh-out-loud funny, imaginative, and heartbreaking. The best way to describe her style is that she writes in dream images using dream logic. What I mean is, you know that feeling when you wake up from a vivid dream and you can't recall its chronological narrative format and it doesn't make much logical sense, yet at the same time you can remember vivid images and profound emotions that stem from it? That's exactly what reading a Kelly Link story is like. It's hard to explain precisely what happens in a literal sense, but she's able to make you feel just what she wants you to feel, even when you can't put your finger on why that is. I'm in awe of her ability make her readers feel such depth of emotion through such cryptic and dreamlike imagery.

Take "Lull" for instance, the first story that I read in this collection. It's a weird, complex story about a group of guys playing poker, a phone-sex operator/storyteller, the Devil, a cheerleader, aliens, clones, time travel, and probably a few more things I can't remember. I read it just going along for the ride at first, really having no idea where she was going with it, and then it hit me all at once that what she was really writing about was death and grief and the mourning process. I was overcome with emotion and practically cried throughout the ending.

Another one is "Stone Animals" about a family that moves into a new house that turns out to be "haunted" in a sense. It's a long story, almost a novella, that reads stylistically like a minimalist take on domestic tragicomedy, yet at the same time it's creepy and eerie and almost feels like a regular ghost story, yet there doesn't seem to be any actual ghosts in it. The whole time I felt like I was watching this ordinary suburban family self destruct before my eyes and by the ending it felt like things had gone past the point of no return, yet I can't explain exactly what happened. But it made an impression on me, believe me.

These are just two examples. Other favorites of mine are "The Faery Handbag", "Magic for Beginners" and "The Hortlak" which are all beautifully complex and heartfelt portrayals of the adolescent/young adult experience, love, and the loss of innocence.

If you're at all interested in fantasy, surrealism, experimental fiction, or just plain beautiful writing, please do yourself a favor and check out Kelly Link. Her writing makes the whole world seem like a beautiful place.
Painful to read.   Jun 18, 2008
Dear Miss Link: Two my reckoning you owe me about 10 hours of life. That would be the time I wasted trying to read this book. I love your prose and your use of random unfocused tangents. however the stories, were like watching really long and unfunny Seinfeld episodes - most were largely about nothing. Beautifully illustrated, but ultimately random, unfocused and very very disappointing. You have great talent as a writer, and your book has some very interesting premises, but please do us readers a favor and make your stories about more focused central themes, with perhaps a little resolution thrown in. As this book is written, I would advice anyone to skip it.
runner-up for Best of '06 fiction  Feb 2, 2008
Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners collection. Pretty awesome. A lot of "coming of age" stuff and adolescent themes. But beyond charming and cute. Insightful and provocative. And sexy in that "I just found out what sexy is" sort of way. Highlights include "The Faery Handbag" (makes you bite your lip and fall in love with life again), the puzzlingly epiphanic "The Hotlak", and the absolutely terrifying "Stone Animals". There are a couple of these short stories I feel the need to re-read to fully "get" them (e.g., I was unprepared for the many layers of "Catskin") but these are positively fantastic stories. Best fiction of 2006? Maybe not but certainly very very good.
Not Free SF Reader  Jan 27, 2008
This is certainly an improvement on the last book, perhaps realising that rough and not quite there bits and pieces aren't actually stories, when the book says a collection of stories.

Magic For Beginners : The Faery Handbag - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : The Hortlak - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : The Cannon - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : Stone Animals - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : Catskin - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : Some Zombie Contingency Plans - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : The Great Divorce - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : Magic for Beginners - Kelly Link
Magic For Beginners : Lull - Kelly Link

Accessory home hunt.

4 out of 5

Zombies and bad pjs.

3 out of 5

Shot through of holes.

2.5 out of 5

Vermin takeover.

3.5 out of 5

Witches and felines combo = bad.

3 out of 5

Simple monsters, with jailbait.

3.5 out of 5

Dead wife bad bonker.

3 out of 5

Foxy lady Library larceny lives.

3.5 out of 5

Dodgy games are definitely very boring.

2 out of 5
Excellent  Jun 13, 2007
I enjoyed this collection of short stories immensely. Link takes readers on journeys through kingdoms, gas stations, and house parties with a magical twist. Admist all the magic, zombies, and ghosts, however, is human experience that rings true to us all.

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