Magic For Beginners

by

Author:  Kelly Link,  (Author)Shelley Jackson ,(Illustrator)

Title:  Magic For Beginners

Genre:  Fantasy, Horror

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  297

Geographical Setting:  United States, Anywhere

Time Period:  Modern Day

Series:  Short Story Collection

Plot Summary:  This collection of 9 short stories is for those who want something different in their fantasy.  These stories take place in the modern day, or do they?  For example, one story, The Hortlak is a tale of a young man falling in love with a girl in a convenience store.  It just so happens the convenient store is located next to a vortex that zombies emerge from time to time.  They don’t eat people anymore because ‘they are done with that now.’  Another story, Stone Animals is about a man and his wife moving to suburbia with their kids, and everything is going well, except for the rabbits.  The rabbits watch them while they sleep, plotting their next move.  Catskin is a folk tale set in modern times, where witches do gruesome things and cats speak on cue.  The Great Divorce is about a man who divorces his wife, who just so happens to be dead.  All of these tales are amusing, witty, brash, and indeed, magical.

Subject Headings:  Magic–Supernatural–Ghosts–Zombies–Mediums–Occult–Folktales–Witches–Gypsies–Haunted Houses–Aliens (Space)–Cats–Rabbits–Art–Lawn Ornaments–Young Adults–Television (shows)–Libraries–Dreams

Appeal:
Candid, Playful, Sarcastic, Quirky, Humorous, Shocking, Edgy, Whimsical, Believable Adults, Teenagers, Bizarre,  Creepy, Unpretentious, Succinct, Euphoric, Lyrical

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Whimsical, Humorous, Sarcastic

3 Similar Fiction Works and authors:


The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land
Diana Wynne Jones.  Those who enjoy Kelly Link’s sense of humor will enjoy this sarcastic “travel guide” to the fantasy genre.  This book is for those who enjoy the fantasy genre, but also always laugh at the tropes and cliches associated with it.  For example, the reader will learn the importance of always having a map, knowing the difference between Magical Amulets and Talismans and why merchandise of any description is always in bales.  The book is like reading a fantasy dictionary, only fun.

The Light Fantastic
Terry Pratchett.  The Light Fantastic is just one of the books in Pratchett’s Discworld series that will appeal to fans of modern magic, witches, and humorous, funny characters.  His books are fast-paced, charming, and very silly.  His books are delightful, satirical, and very wry.

PastoraliaGeorge Saunders.  This collection of short stories will appeal to readers for it’s offbeat tone, over-the top characters, and dark themes mingled with bizarre comedy.  Saunders tales are full of twists and alternate realities, quirky situations and puzzling locales.

3 Similar Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Exercises in Style,
Raymond Queneau.  Those who enjoy Link’s work will immediately notice her rich writing style, full of fantastical details and ideas.  Exercises in Style is a creative writing explosion of ideas that takes one story and tells it 99 different times, in different styles, tones, and even languages.  The stories themselves are indeed fictional, but this is a book about the writing process, and those who appreciate it.

The Art of Fiction, Notes on Craft for Young Writers.
John Gardner.  This book is another interesting tale for readers of all ages on the creative process of making fiction.  The tone is serious, but also comical and optimistic in tone.  The sections on art, techniques, and common errors are particularly revelatory.

The Fantasy Film (New Approaches to Film Genre) Katherine A. Fowkes.  This film guide provides analyses of various fantasy genre films throughout the years, including The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Shrek.  It is a good overview of the genre along with critical responses and includes photos and screen shots as well.

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