My editor called this story collection "twisted domestic fiction," which is pretty perfect.
In Kelcey Parker’s tales of twisted domesticity, a woman gives her family up for Lent; a mother finds redemption at Chuck E. Cheese; a former best-friend-forever wreaks baby shower havoc; a bride swallows a housefly at the altar; and a suburbanite’s obsession with memory books puts her family in jeopardy.
These stories offer a contemporary and dryly funny view of marriage, parenting and loss. Fans of Lorrie Moore and Aimee Bender will find kinship in Parker’s wit, her generosity of spirit and the confidence of her voice. This debut collection marks the appearance of a writer with a blunt and beautiful perspective on family, home, and an evolving American subculture.
2011 WINNER, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Short Fiction
2012FINALIST, Best Books of Indiana, Fiction
"These are fantastical, ingenious, deeply imagined and felt stories about the homes, families, jobs, lives that we dream about, that we disappoint and are disappointed by in equal measure. In Parker's hands, our dead ends become something other than dead ends, something hopeful and beautiful and mysterious. Art, in other words."
- BROCK CLARKE, author of THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH
I am giving you up, she told her family. For Lent.
What was hers anymore that she could give up? That no one else could use without permission, take without asking, even wear, now that the oldest was a teen and her size? Answer: the cat. The found feral cat from college, from before all of them and during all of them, tucked into the right angle of her armpit every night. But after they started arriving every couple of years, the cat (may she rest in peace) was no longer her greatest joy. They were.
You are my greatest joy, she said. And so, she addressed the question marks around the dinner table, you see what a sacrifice this is.
Q: Your stories are not only beautiful, but also unpredictable and often startling. Can you discuss the inspiration for some of the unexpected ideas that populate the pages of your book?
A: In "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed," set in a land of lake-effect snow, the narrator's garden blooms all winter. The narrator is a high school teacher accused of inappropriate relations with a student, and the reader learns that the student's first poem is about a garden that blooms all winter. Toward the end of the story the narrator jokes that the scientists conducting tests on her garden might find an unfamiliar substance in the soil: "Metaphoracline." Is the winter garden magical? Metaphorical? Or merely imagined? Neither I nor the story will tell.
Read the full interview HERE.