Reviews


“At first glance, Katie Farris’s debut collection resembles an artifact recovered from an asylum….Yet unlike most metafiction, which calls attention to the fact that it is a fictional artifact, creating a space of irony, Farris’s conceit works to make these tales come alive, as myths, as dreams…Not for the faint of heart, these tales demand participation, almost becoming what they pretend to be: a madwoman’s illuminated dreams with the power to transfer madness to the reader. But a closer look reveals Farris’s carefully constructed comment on the dizzying madness of love and language, a reflective riddle, flashing from tale to tale.”

Mary McMyne, American Book Review

“Farris has crafted, molded, sculpted stories that will enter our consciousness as effortlessly as tales of Mother Goose and the Brothers Grimm, because we already know them. And if Barthes had believed that myth “has the pretension of transcending itself into a factual system,” Farris’s stories have come with no pretense. They are humble. Fluid. Introductory in a manner that professes only innocence — and with this innocence comes belief. And belief, we know, is all that’s required for myth, modern or not, to grab us tightly and carry us up into the sun.”

Micah McCrary, 

“boysgirls is a collection of short prose texts that defy categorization…These are twisted tales in a twisted form, texts that put everything at stake on language and teeter on the edge of an abyss familiar to readers of Blanchot, Kafka or Lispector…This is not freakishness for its own sake, but is in pursuit of what cannot be said any other way. Farris’ texts lurk below experience… casting a wider net by the slant of their approach…With this, her first book publication, Farris has emerged as a truly innovative writer. One wonders – and almost fears – what she will accomplish with a longer form.”

Stephan Delbos, , 2011.

boysgirls is a very small book with gigantic scope. At some points it reads like the book of Genesis; at others it’s like a dream-turned-nightmare.”

Mary Popham, Louisville Courier-Journal

“Katie Farris is one of the artists who have bent the notion of what it means to be a writer in the 21st century. Like Henry Miller and Anais Nin, [she] stepped to the edge of what is known and then jumped off…Farris’ prose poems are a new brand of fairy tale, or perhaps I should say she harkens back to the beginning of the fairy tale form, when they were for adults, and told in salons around Paris by women who’s sexual energy overflowed in the telling of each tale, before the Brothers Grimm began their trek around Deutschland.”

Ping Pong: A Literary Journal of Henry Miller Library, 2012.

“boysgirls by Katie Farris, a collection of modern myths or extended prose poems, asks questions about the minutiae of enchantment and its attendant quotidian…[Farris] has constructed a chimerical work, more poetry than prose, a disordered mythology, a book of secrets almost told…The writer searches for memory, real or imagined, and invents new myths from old…the palimpsest, the always erased as the only thing that endures… Katie Farris will lead you. It will never be to where you think you are going or want to go, but you will need to go there, even to the precipice.”

Robert Lipton, Poetry Flash 

“Farris insolently promises to provide fiction that you will be forced to react to, something unique, something you will want to keep reading−and then she insolently makes good on that promise.”

Debrah Lechner, Hayden’s Ferry Review

“Farris’s work is fearless…[it]  challenges us to suspend our disbelief, shocks us into looking at the naked truth of the stories… This collection will have you mesmerized from the moment you open the cover to the last words.”

Ivy Page, Midwest Book Review

“Farris’ style is biting satire that… leaves a bloody mark of recognition on the reader… Over the course of my reading life, I have encountered several descriptive passages by a variety of writers detailing the sexual dance between male and female, but this is the first time I was surprised by the outcome.. Katie Farris is an original in her own right, adding an enchanting new voice to literature…a writer and a storyteller of very human truths.”

Val B Russell, Her Circle (Canada), 2011.

“Farris engages the reader through a powerful voice and an infectious enthusiasm, suffusing these stories with a palpable sense of both delight and danger… The joy of delirium, however, comes tinged with the threat of violence… [Farris] pays loving attention to every word on the page, wedding the exuberance of her narrator’s mad passion with an impressive control of the prose line… Lingering somewhere between dream and nightmare, boysgirls leaves the reader…on the razor’s edge.”

Martin Woodside, New Pages, 2011.

“Katie Farris heralds the dawn of a “new literature” with both fierce audacity and untender irony…One of the first parallels that comes to mind when reading these strange, visceral, both oneiric and palpable “fairy tales” is of course Angela Carter (with a touch of Bulgakov here and there, and even Kharms), only that unlike the English classic, Farris swerves not only from the standard tone and imagery and plot of traditional fairytales, but from the genre itself, and not only hunts the reader’s expectations down in order to deconstruct the story and story-telling, but blows up the very notion of literature and even writing through “fake” allegories that flow into theory and poetry, a combination I see as the writer’s trademark and an accomplishment remarkably above those of quite a number of other American writers…”

Chris Tanasescu, 

“Farris’ stories recall Carter and the best of A.S. Byatt’s short works. They are mystical and magical …Stories of almost Greek legend and fairytales taken back to the darkness that was theirs originally… The pieces do take you by the throat and force you to breathe differently. In short, they are amazing.”

Andi Cumbo-Floyd, Andilit, 2011.

“Katie Farris seductively draws us in…dreamscape, character development and plot are handled with the linguistic specificity and precision of poetry in every line; a voice that breaks open the feminine in every turn.”

Jillian Mukavetz, Women’s Quarterly Conversation

“Beautifully crafted and illustrated collection of short-shorts written in the vein of modern fairy tales…pieces are short-shorts written in a highly lyrical style packed with beautiful repetitions, anaphora, rhyme, and surprising metaphors, such as the grandmother who is a machete…The stories are more than entertainment; they are a reminder of our multiple personalities, [they] address the process of metamorphosis and the idea of embracing otherness…all the characters are connected by the theme of reflection and vision. To be seen and to see seems to be at stake”

Monika Zobel, California Journal of Poetics

Blurbs

“BOYSGIRLS is one for the classic fairy-tale shelves, joining Borges/Lispector, Calvino/Carter, Andersen/d’Aulnoy with its spectral powers.  Katie Farris’s spare and lyrical language levitates here—she is a haunting and new revelation.”

Kate Bernheimer, author of Horse, Flower, Bird and editor ofThe Fairy Tale Review

“In this first collection, Katie Farris reminds us that “Times are hard for dreamers”, only to go on to provide a number of vivid singularities…a storm of unexpected pleasures to be dreamed while awake.”

Rikki Ducornet, author of The Fanmaker’s Inquisition, winner of Lannan Award

“Smart and witty, tantalizingly interesting characters: the boy with one wing, the inventor of invented things, the brief sparkling cameo of the cyclops…something of a little tour de force.”

Robert Coover, author of Origin of the Brunists, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award

“These kaleidoscopic fictions have an astonishing delicacy. They spark and cascade and then burst again, changing shape and settling into surprising, entrancing patterns.”

 Joanna Scott, author of Arrogance, winner of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship

 

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