Claiming a Body: Short Stories
The stories in Amanda Marbais’s Claiming a Body read like dispatches from a frontline strewn with infected relationships, metastasizing anxieties, and cultural fatigue. Propelled by sympathetic characters and assertive voices that both capture and convey a uniquely contemporary dread, these virtual confessions reveal life at its most negotiable: a woman overcomes her fear of both commitment and grizzlies in the unspoiled wilderness of Glacier National Park; a couple cons friends one last time in the decaying rustbelt before turning on each other; the son of a poultry farmer struggles with inhumane practices while resisting the undercurrent of violence in his high school.
Just as Marbais’ characters seek to cross painful thresholds and unearth their better selves, her collection finds ways to communicate across traditional genre lines, bringing together such disparate styles as noir, environmental fiction, and speculative fiction. Woven throughout is a hard-wrought prose that crackles with a steady stream of references to the modern American landscape that is frequently to blame for the chaos left in its wake.
“Each story in Marbais’s sharp, glittering collection forms a complete and chaotic universe constellated by characters who shape, destroy, captivate and confound one another. Their souls are cool and brave; their bodies grimy, fragile; their friendships laboratories in which to experiment with appetite and numbness.”