Budnitz, Judy Flying Leap

ISBN 13: 9780007291397

Flying Leap

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9780007291397: Flying Leap

The Brothers Grimm take lessons in fiction from Angela Carter to produce this uncanny and surreal work. Judy Budnitz might just be the most exciting and unusual literary figure to emerge from the US literary thicket in 2000. She marries great technical skill to quirky humour and dizzying metaphor. She has an uncanny knack for the destabilizing and indelible image, but does not abandon sense for sensibility. She is always readable, albeit strangely so. She might yet be an Americanized heir to the throne left vacant by Angela Carter. This collection of stories is strikingly surreal and hugely entertaining. It will appeal to fans of everyone from Tibor Fischer via Lorrie Moore to Nicholson Baker, or put another way, from Heathers to Edward Scissorhands via Annie Hall. Among the storylines: a young man is persuaded to donate his heart to his dying mother; a girl comes of age in strange suburbia, her only friend a man dressed in a dogsuit; a man and a woman conduct a passionate love affair on a park bench.

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Review:

Try not to get too attached to the characters in this collection of short stories. Some are easy to keep at arm's length--monstrous women with chins rolling down their throats, hooded hijackers or scarred children with rank breath. But others are more endearing, stealing up to you with their intimacies, lingering in your memory long after you've moved on. The man in the shabby zip-up dog suit who blinks longingly in the hope of getting some scraps; the son who is persuaded to donate his heart to his mother (it's only "a little bit of flesh" after all); the seven-year-old girl in red overalls, smelling of childhood and sweet milk.

If Judy Budnitz's stories have a hallmark, it is the inevitable nudging towards a "glorious, disastrous, unexpected turn". Set in an America of one-traffic-light towns, these stories follow the downtrodden and explore how they fall off the edge.

But you want to know what happened next, what went wrong. Did he leave her? Did she leave him? Did she lie to him, cheat on him... You want her to slip up, don't you? She doesn't seem real to you yet; she's too perfect. You want to see her make a mistake...
Often there is something darkly delicious about this--for just as Budnitz knows how to navigate between the sinister and the funny, she knows when to leave you stranded, squirming half-cocked and when to release the tension with sharp one-liners. Flying Leap is Judy Budnitz's first collection of short stories, published to great acclaim in the States (it was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year). It comes to us after the publication of her first novel, If I Told You Once, which was short-listed for the Orange Prize 2000. -- Jane Honey

Review:

‘I don’t know what planet Budnitz comes from, but I’m happy to have her. Flying Leap is a tremendous debut –funny, dark, weird, adventurous, slanted and enchanted.’
Newsweek

‘Amazingly original… These unsettling short stories leave you wanting more.’
Seventeen

‘Budnitz’s humorous and original story ideas and the bold strokes with which she delineates them are the indispensable allies of her lyric intelligence… . An intriguing and mature debut.’
Rachel Cusk, The Village Voice

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