Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby / ISBN 9780143136620 / 288-page paperback from Penguin / wonderful cover art and design by Lydia Ortiz
“Kirby has mastered the art of short fiction…A stunning collection from a writer whose talent and creativity seem boundless.”—NPR
“Kirby takes joy in subverting the reader’s expectations at every turn. Her characters might be naïve, even reckless, but they aren’t about to be victims: They’re strong, and brave, and nearly always capable of rescuing themselves.”—New York Times Book Review
Margaret Atwood meets Buffy in these funny, warm, and furious stories of women at their breaking points, from Hellenic times to today.
Cassandra may have seen the future, but it doesn't mean she's resigned to telling the Trojans everything she knows. In this ebullient collection, virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren't ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. Gwen E. Kirby experiments with found structures--a Yelp review, a WikiHow article--which her fierce, irreverent narrators push against, showing how creativity within an enclosed space undermines and deconstructs the constraints themselves. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse to be secondary characters a moment longer. From "The Best and Only Whore of Cym Hyfryd, 1886" to the "Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories," Kirby is playing and laughing with the women who have come before her and they are telling her, we have always been this way. You just had to know where to look.