Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
We Bury the Landscape - Kristine Ong Muslim These one-hundred stories were inspired by real pieces of art -- but you don't need to be familiar with any of the images to enjoy these stories. Muslim's jumping point -- a painting -- ends with wonderful crafted story, poignant and sharp, sad and humorous. I read all the stories first, image unseen, then went to Muslim's website where she links to every image. Then, after checking out the images, I reread the stories.I'll be honest: in many cases, I rather enjoyed the story more before seeing the image. Sometimes, Muslim's story is a literal description of the painting; when the image was unfamiliar, I savored her descriptions, but after seeing the picture, I preferred my mental image over the reality.  Described as 'flash fiction', these short stories are, in some cases, simply a paragraph -- but the length doesn't detract from the wallop of imagery and emotion.  At 169 pages, this volume is easy to race through: I would read on, potato-chip reading, as I described it to my wife, inhaling one story after another, unable to stop myself.  Some of the stories are darkly humorous; others, creepy and grotesque.  Many of the stories have a surrealist feel to them, reminding me of Aimee Bender, Ben Loory, and Catherynne M. Valente -- helped by Muslim's choice in art. Ranging from well-known artists like Dali and Miro, she also picks contemporary artists who were new-to-me, and the spectrum of art styles was exciting and interesting.  (I recommend checking out Muslim's essay on Necessary Fiction to learn more about her process for writing; I read it during my reading of this volume and found myself appreciating the stories even more.)Even if you're not a short story fan, consider this collection: the pieces are so interesting, odd, dark, and twisted, they're like literary amuse-bouche, or a sampler flight of strange fiction. A unique way to dip your toes into odd fiction.