KELLY LINK Magic for Beginners

ISBN 13: 9780007242009

Magic for Beginners

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9780007242009: Magic for Beginners

Best of the Decade: Salon, The A.V. Club

"If I had to pick the most powerfully original voice in fantasy today, it would be Kelly Link. Her stories begin in a world very much like our own, but then, following some mysterious alien geometry, they twist themselves into something fantastic and, frequently, horrific. You won’t come out the same person you went in."—Lev Grossman, The Week

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

"Dazzling."—Entertainment Weekly (grade: A, Editor’s Choice)

"Darkly playful."—Michael Chabon

Best of the Year: Time Magazine, Salon, Boldtype, PopMatters.

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, Salon.com, and Book Sense. Illustrated by Shelley Jackson.

Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short fiction Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebula, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question “Why do you want to go through the world?” (”Because you can’t go through it.”)

Link lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press, co-edit the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and play ping-pong. In 1996 they started the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

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About the Author:

Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question Why do you want to go around the world?” (”Because you can’t go through it.”)

Link and her family live in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press, and play ping-pong. In 1996 they started the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpted from "The Faery Handbag"

I used to go to thrift stores with my friends. We’d take the train into Boston, and go to The Garment District, which is this huge vintage clothing warehouse. Everything is arranged by color, and somehow that makes all of the clothes beautiful. It’s kind of like if you went through the wardrobe in the Narnia books, only instead of finding Aslan and the White Witch and horrible Eustace, you found this magic clothing world instead of talking animals, there were feather boas and wedding dresses and bowling shoes, and paisley shirts and Doc Martens and everything hung up on racks so that first you have black dresses, all together, like the world’s largest indoor funeral, and then blue dresses all the blues you can imagine and then red dresses and so on. Pink-reds and orangey reds and purple-reds and exit-light reds and candy reds. Sometimes I would close my eyes and Natasha and Natalie and Jake would drag me over to a rack, and rub a dress against my hand. Guess what color this is.”

We had this theory that you could learn how to tell, just by feeling, what color something was. For example, if you’re sitting on a lawn, you can tell what color green the grass is, with your eyes closed, depending on how silky-rubbery it feels. With clothing, stretchy velvet stuff always feels red when your eyes are closed, even if it’s not red. Natasha was always best at guessing colors, but Natasha is also best at cheating at games and not getting caught.

One time we were looking through kid’s t-shirts and we found a Muppets t-shirt that had belonged to Natalie in third grade. We knew it belonged to her, because it still had her name inside, where her mother had written it in permanent marker, when Natalie went to summer camp. Jake bought it back for her, because he was the only one who had money that weekend. He was the only one who had a job.

Maybe you’re wondering what a guy like Jake is doing in The Garment District with a bunch of girls. The thing about Jake is that he always has a good time, no matter what he’s doing. He likes everything, and he likes everyone, but he likes me best of all. Wherever he is now, I bet he’s having a great time and wondering when I’m going to show up. I’m always running late. But he knows that.

We had this theory that things have life cycles, the way that people do. The life cycle of wedding dresses and feather boas and t-shirts and shoes and handbags involves the Garment District. If clothes are good, or even if they’re bad in an interesting way, the Garment District is where they go when they die. You can tell that they’re dead, because of the way that they smell. When you buy them, and wash them, and start wearing them again, and they start to smell like you, that’s when they reincarnate. But the point is, if you’re looking for a particular thing, you just have to keep looking for it. You have to look hard.

Down in the basement at the Garment Factory they sell clothing and beat-up suitcases and teacups by the pound. You can get eight pounds worth of prom dresses a slinky black dress, a poufy lavender dress, a swirly pink dress, a silvery, starry lame dress so fine you could pass it through a key ring for eight dollars. I go there every week, hunting for Grandmother Zofia’s faery handbag.

The faery handbag: It’s huge and black and kind of hairy. Even when your eyes are closed, it feels black. As black as black ever gets, like if you touch it, your hand might get stuck in it, like tar or black quicksand or when you stretch out your hand at night, to turn on a light, but all you feel is darkness.

Fairies live inside it. I know what that sounds like, but it’s true.

Grandmother Zofia said it was a family heirloom. She said that it was over two hundred years old. She said that when she died, I had to look after it. Be its guardian. She said that it would be my responsibility.

I said that it didn’t look that old, and that they didn’t have handbag two hundred years ago, but that just made her cross. She said, So then tell me, Genevieve, darling, where do you think old ladies used to put their reading glasses and their heart medicine and their knitting needles?”

I know that no one is going to believe any of this. That’s okay. If I thought you would, then I couldn’t tell you. Promise me that you won’t believe a word. That’s what Zofia used to say to me when she told me stories. At the funeral, my mother said, half-laughing and half-crying, that her mother was the world’s best liar. I think she thought maybe Zofia wasn’t really dead. But I went up to Zofia’s coffin, and I looked her right in the eyes. They were closed. The funeral parlor had made her up with blue eyeshadow, and blue eyeliner. She looked like she was going to be a news anchor on Fox television, instead of dead. It was creepy and it made me even sadder than I already was. But I didn’t let that distract me.

Okay, Zofia,” I whispered. I know you’re dead, but this is important. You know exactly how important this is. Where’s the handbag? What did you do with it? How do I find it? What am I supposed to do now?”

Of course she didn’t say a word. She just lay there, this little smile on her face, as if she thought the whole thing death, blue eyeshadow, Jake, the handbag, faeries, Scrabble, Baldeziwurlekistan, all of it was a joke. She always did have a weird sense of humor. That’s why she and Jake got along so well.

I grew up in a house next door to the house where my mother lived when she was a little girl. Her mother, Zofia Swink, my grandmother, babysat me while my mother and father were at work.

Zofia never looked like a grandmother. She had long black hair which she wore up in little, braided, spiky towers and plaits. She had large blue eyes. She was taller than my father. She looked like a spy or ballerina or a lady pirate or a rock star. She acted like one too. For example, she never drove anywhere. She rode a bike. It drove my mother crazy. Why can’t you act your age?” she’d say, and Zofia would just laugh.

Zofia and I played Scrabble all the time. Zofia always won, even though her English wasn’t all that great, because we’d decided that she was allowed to use Baldeziwurleki vocabulary. Baldeziwurlekistan is where Zofia was born, over two hundred years ago. That’s what Zofia said. (My grandmother claimed to be over two hundred years old. Or maybe even older. Sometimes she claimed that she’d even met Ghenghis Khan. He was much shorter than her. I probably don’t have time to tell that story.) Baldeziwurlekistan is also an incredibly valuable word in Scrabble points, even though it doesn’t exactly fit on the board. Zofia put it down the first time we played. I was feeling pretty good because I’d gotten forty-one points for zippery” on my turn.

Zofia kept rearranging her letters on her tray. Then she looked over at me, as if daring me to stop her, and put down eziwurlekistan”, after bald.” She used delicious,” zippery,” wishes,” kismet”, and needle,” and made to” into toe”. Baldeziwurlekistan” went all the way across the board and then trailed off down the righthand side.

I started laughing.

I used up all my letters,” Zofia said. She licked her pencil and started adding up points.

That’s not a word,” I said. Baldeziwurlekistan is not a word. Besides, you can’t do that. You can’t put an eighteen letter word on a board that’s fifteen squares across.”

Why not? It’s a country,” Zofia said. It’s where I was born, little darling.”

Challenge,” I said. I went and got the dictionary and looked it up. There’s no such place.”

Of course there isn’t nowadays,” Zofia said. It wasn’t a very big place, even when it was a place. But you’ve heard of Samarkand, and Uzbekistan and the Silk Road and Ghenghis Khan. Haven’t I told you about meeting Ghenghis Khan?”

I looked up Samarkand. Okay,” I said. Samarkand is a real place. A real word. But Baldeziwurlekistan isn’t.”

They call it something else now,” Zofia said. But I think it’s important to remember where we come from. I think it’s only fair that I get to use Baldeziwurleki words. Your English is so much better than me. Promise me something, mouthful of dumpling, a small, small thing. You’ll remember its real name. Baldeziwurlekistan. Now when I add it up, I get three hundred and sixty-eight points. Could that be right?”

If you called the faery handbag by its right name, it would be something like orzipanikanikcz,” which means the bag of skin where the world lives,” only Zofia never spelled that word the same way twice. She said you had to spell it a little differently each time. You never wanted to spell it exactly the right way, because that would be dangerous.

I called it the faery handbag because I put faery” down on the Scrabble board once. Zofia said that you spelled it with an i,” not an e”. She looked it up in the dictionary, and lost a turn.

Zofia said that in Baldeziwurlekistan they used a board and tiles for divination, prognostication, and sometimes even just for fun. She said it was a little like playing Scrabble. That’s probably why she turned out to be so good at Scrabble. The Baldeziwurlekistanians used their tiles and board to communicate with the people who lived under the hill. The people who lived under the hill knew the fut...

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this dazzling collection, prize-winning short story writer Kelly Link takes the ordinary and makes it strange - and the strange and makes it ordinary. Engaging, funny, eerie and magical, these nine stories prove Link to be an original and important talent.Of all the books you read this year, this will be the one that you remember. Taking themes from horror and fantasy, these stories transform them into the stuff of delicate lyrical fantasy, with a distinctive and effervescent blend of humour and pathos.In Stone Animals , a middle-class family moves from Manhattan to a beautiful house in the suburbs. Almost immediately, their belongings become haunted, and they are increasingly unnerved by the growing hordes of rabbits that camp out nightly on the front lawn. The title story follows a group of adolescent schoolfriends whose experiences subtly parallel events in a surreal TV fantasy series which switches channels and times at whim. In The Hortlak , an all-night convenience store serves zombies as an experiment in retail; while The Faery Handbag features a village which takes refuge from time to time in a magical handbag.Bold, tender, mischievous and unsettling, Link s stories have the insistent quality of dreams and show a writer at the height of her powers. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007242009

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this dazzling collection, prize-winning short story writer Kelly Link takes the ordinary and makes it strange - and the strange and makes it ordinary. Engaging, funny, eerie and magical, these nine stories prove Link to be an original and important talent.Of all the books you read this year, this will be the one that you remember. Taking themes from horror and fantasy, these stories transform them into the stuff of delicate lyrical fantasy, with a distinctive and effervescent blend of humour and pathos.In Stone Animals , a middle-class family moves from Manhattan to a beautiful house in the suburbs. Almost immediately, their belongings become haunted, and they are increasingly unnerved by the growing hordes of rabbits that camp out nightly on the front lawn. The title story follows a group of adolescent schoolfriends whose experiences subtly parallel events in a surreal TV fantasy series which switches channels and times at whim. In The Hortlak , an all-night convenience store serves zombies as an experiment in retail; while The Faery Handbag features a village which takes refuge from time to time in a magical handbag.Bold, tender, mischievous and unsettling, Link s stories have the insistent quality of dreams and show a writer at the height of her powers. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007242009

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